Blogging & Plagiarism And How To Avoid It

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Plagiarism: the process or practice of using another person’s ideas or work and pretending that it is your own.

Cambridge Dictionary

This morning I lay awake and I was mindful of some idea-stealing that had gone on recently. Bothered by the notion, I messaged my dear real-life-and-blogger friend Bill at Rope, Roses & Red.

Because of his sound advice, he is the reason and inspiration behind this post.

Friends, copying someone is never cool, and when I find even more so that it’s my own ideas (and in some sense, even my own identity) that’s being replicated, it really doesn’t sit well. At best, it’s annoying, and at worst, it’s frankly pretty damn creepy.

Us bloggers work hard to do what we do, We work hard to be original and unique and create something new that you will want to read. I have a list on my phone of ideas and topics that I want to write about and that I don’t believe have been covered before. Maybe they have been, but certainly not recently, or that I’ve seen.

Sometimes bloggers write about the same thing, and that’s fine. Maybe there is a local or global headline that needs to be discussed and a few (hundred) bloggers will have their take on it, that happens. Maybe twenty different fashion bloggers will all review the same beauty product and have very different opinions on it, that happens too. That’s not plagiarism, that’s just a hot topic.

Plagiarism is when a blogger writes something, you read it, and write about the same thing without referencing them for the inspiration. Plagiarism is taking somebody else’s artwork and using it as your own. Plagiarism is using someone’s videos or music and calling it your own original. Plagiarism is not cool, it’s not okay, and in some cases, it is even illegal.

I’m not naming names because I don’t believe in the practice of naming and shaming. Sometimes, people don’t mean any harm, they just simply don’t think, and that’s fine because we all make mistakes. As my mother would say, “once is an accident, twice is on purpose, and three times is a pattern.”

Even if annoyed, I, fortunately, can be a rather forgiving person, but that doesn’t mean that the behaviour can carry on.

So how can you avoid plagiarizing other bloggers?

  1. Ask for permission

Most bloggers are really decent people and won’t mind at all if you want to create content that was inspired by them. Be sure to ask them, thank them, and give them some form of credit for the inspiration.

2. Quote & reference

Did something they say resonate perfectly with you? Quote them in your own piece, and give them the proper credit that they deserve. It’s fine to do this, as long as you don’t forget the credit.

3. Linkback

Linkbacks are links to the original post (the one that inspired you) and are frighteningly easy to do. Highlight text> Link> Enter URL> Apply. Job done.

4. Hold off for a while

You’ve seen a blog post that really inspired you and you’d love to write something similar. The problem is, another blogger just posted about that topic and it’ll look a bit creepy if you do. Leave it in your drafts for a while and give it some time while you write about something else instead, just make sure it’s still your own original work when you do upload.

5. Create your own content

This one should go without saying, but be you, create you and create your own story and content. All of the toys you see photographed and dotted throughout this blog are our own, carefully photographed by my own hands (with a camera, of course, I don’t have some strange superpower). The story that you read is our own, even if the blog name was inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey. We are us, we are the original. We need to be us, and you need to be you.

It’s fine to be similar to another blogger, and it’s fine to he inspired by them. Eventually, all bloggers, no matter how much they try, will start to ooze something that looks frighteningly similar to somebody else and most bloggers know and understand that. The important thing is not to try and resist that inevitable sense of familiarity, but to find to that little thing that makes you uniquely you.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Oscar Wilde

Have an awesome Tuesday, folks!

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx

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