There have been times in the course of an average day where something struck my eye just enough to the point of stopping me in my tracks. I would flounder for a second or two, wondering if I should split from my day-to-day mode and rush to get the camera/notebook/blahblah in order to attempt to record or expand on what it was stole my attention. I'll stand there considering my two options and, occasionally, will realize I need to kick my lazy keister into gear, making a commitment outwards and towards at least *attempting* to record or expand the moment.
Once this kind of decision is made, I believe we can be compelled on a wave of very pure emotion and, more importantly, a realization of time available for us to act -- an awareness of how time is being destroyed millisecond to millisecond and how there is a potent, real struggle to find expression within that evaporating world. Let no movement be wasted or energy displaced! I write this as encouragement for myself, but also for you.
A certain quote from Kurt Vonnegut:
"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way to make life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Whether or not something is 'original' should not be a factor. Say with photography, I'll have dabbled with some technique or approach only to find the technique or philosophy was espoused, developed, mastered, and ultimately discarded by great photographers a 100 years prior.
Does this lack of 'embryonic' originality or uniqueness somehow devalue such work in my own attempts at living art, or yours? NO! It is the here and now in which we thrive and it is the here and now in which we must produce, an immediacy to which even the vibrant past can find no retort. That pristine moment of 'original discovery'? It is born anew with every decision we make to implement it -- a kind of *GASP*, an intake of air, of... of... obligated existence, untethered to any famous epoch or popular artist.
I would say copy, imitate, transcribe, trace, receive, and do so earnestly. It is through the acts of drawing, splattering, cutting, developing, and editing, often in well-worn footsteps, that you find the potential for an individual voice. And even if that voice turns out to sound a little familiar to what has been shouted before, there is still the fact this voice is framed within the unique context of your present moment. The past and present may be inspiring this art, but it isn't creating this art. You are.