How Not to Plagiarize on the Net

I grinned as the words appeared in my inbox. “Here’s the first batch. More on the way.” Easy Peazy! I thought. I should write like this more often.

Why I Did It

My schedule has been insane for three weeks now. Knowing that I am not the kind of person who can skimp on sleep and think intelligently, I was faced with tackling everything myself and screwing up my grades, business, and marriage, or outsourcing. I took the obvious choice.

Elation

I curled up on the couch to read over my goodies like a child with a pile of Christmas packages. Some were terrific. In fact, at least four of them read as if I wrote them myself. “Put that writer on the repeat business list for sure.” I made a mental note and moved onto the next batch. Alas, my happiness was but short lived.

[Citation Needed]

I had high hopes for this large job, it was coming from a pool of the best writers on the Net. I read the first 100 words and waited for the bada-bing. It never came. I read on and began to get an uneasy feeling. Something’s off. The cadence and word choice just did a 360.

With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I ran a search for the ill-fitting sentences. To my utter amazement and horror, the words came back in a millisecond in the form of a SERPS on Google. I’d been deceived. Ripped-off. Duped. Snookered.

I wasn’t sure how to feel. Shocked, sad, sick, furious. I did what any red-blooded girl does on such an occasion. I cried- but just for a minute. (I actually found the words [citation needed] in one of the sentences. Anyone recognize where that came from?) Then I took a deep breath, prayed, and wrote an email.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Manager Scorned

“Houston, we have a problem.” The manager on the other end was as gracious and shocked as I expected, and as angry. (For future reference, never cross a red-headed Canadian who believes in you and gives you a chance to earn a paycheck.)

So, in an effort to make this productive, I’m going to share a few tips with the new Net writers out there.

Blue Duck Tips for New Net Writers

  • Use the Internet for research, not for copy/pasting. Add something of value to every piece you sell or take up another form of writing.
  • Eliminate the word “that” from your writing. It’s filler and it drags your writing down.
  • In fact, make a sweep and eliminate all the words you can. “The, that, in other words, sort of, in case” are all good examples of fluff words that have to go.
  • Never use “etc.” It’s lazy and irresponsible writing.
  • Use headings, bullet points, and white space to make reading easier.
  • If you are sending your work to an editor, always ask about formatting. Otherwise, use something easy on the eyes like 12 point Helvetica. It makes editing easier. 🙂

And the ultimate tip for all writers:

Never send anything out the door without reading it. Every word you sell represents you and your business. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had sent those posts out without reading them. My reputation would be ruined, the client would have passed the files on to their clients, and 10 separate businesses would have taken a bad rap for one writer’s lack of integrity.

I came to the conclusion that plagiarizers make my job easier. I will eventually get their disenchanted clients and they will think I am a writing genius and appreciate original work all that much more. So go ahead, it’s a moot point.

(And Oktober, this post ran long, but since it’s part rant, it’s exempt!) 😀

14 Responses to How Not to Plagiarize on the Net
  1. Oktober Five
    November 4, 2008 | 1:47 pm

    It ran long? I didn’t even notice–seriously. No rant has flowed so nicely 🙂

  2. Oktober Five
    November 4, 2008 | 9:47 am

    It ran long? I didn’t even notice–seriously. No rant has flowed so nicely 🙂

  3. Writer Dad
    November 4, 2008 | 2:05 pm

    I’m with OK. As long as the rant has flow it’s good. Sorry about your issue. It sounds like you handled it beautifully though, and you are correct. Their ineptitude equals your genius. I love how you ended it. Good job, Jamie.

    Writer Dad´s last spectacular blog post..Let’s Get Our Kids Drunk! or Happy Halloween!

  4. Writer Dad
    November 4, 2008 | 10:05 am

    I’m with OK. As long as the rant has flow it’s good. Sorry about your issue. It sounds like you handled it beautifully though, and you are correct. Their ineptitude equals your genius. I love how you ended it. Good job, Jamie.

    Writer Dad´s last spectacular blog post..Let’s Get Our Kids Drunk! or Happy Halloween!

  5. Jamie
    November 4, 2008 | 11:14 am

    Ha! A stamp of approval from the RADP! Wow. 😉

    Hey Sean, For some reason, I keep picturing that line from Billy Madison, “O’Doyle Rules!”

    “Blue Ducks Rule!” Here’s a wedgie you crap writer.

    (Seriously, I think I need more sleep or less coffee, gesh!)

  6. Vered - MomGrind
    November 4, 2008 | 6:19 pm

    “In fact, make a sweep and eliminate all the words you can. ”

    This is great advice. I tend to write fast, but I always read my posts and try to make them as short and concise as possible prior to publishing.

  7. Vered - MomGrind
    November 4, 2008 | 2:19 pm

    “In fact, make a sweep and eliminate all the words you can. ”

    This is great advice. I tend to write fast, but I always read my posts and try to make them as short and concise as possible prior to publishing.

  8. Jamie Simmerman
    November 4, 2008 | 6:27 pm

    Hi Vered, Your writing is terrific. 😉

    I’m a big fan of writing with a good cadence. Eliminating extra words helps accomplish a good flow.

  9. Jamie
    November 4, 2008 | 2:27 pm

    Hi Vered, Your writing is terrific. 😉

    I’m a big fan of writing with a good cadence. Eliminating extra words helps accomplish a good flow.

  10. Matthew Dryden
    November 4, 2008 | 6:58 pm

    I totally did not follow any of the rules for my first few weeks of blogging. Hmmm.

    Matthew Dryden´s last spectacular blog post..Writing For November

  11. Matthew Dryden
    November 4, 2008 | 2:58 pm

    I totally did not follow any of the rules for my first few weeks of blogging. Hmmm.

    Matthew Dryden´s last spectacular blog post..Writing For November

  12. Jamie Simmerman
    November 4, 2008 | 7:12 pm

    Genius writers named Matthew are exempt from all rules.

    Just don’t be surprised if Oktober and Blogger Dad mug you in the middle of the night and waterboard you into submission. 🙂

  13. Jamie
    November 4, 2008 | 3:12 pm

    Genius writers named Matthew are exempt from all rules.

    Just don’t be surprised if Oktober and Blogger Dad mug you in the middle of the night and waterboard you into submission. 🙂

  14. Jamie
    January 6, 2010 | 8:15 pm

    Ha! A stamp of approval from the RADP! Wow. 😉

    Hey Sean, For some reason, I keep picturing that line from Billy Madison, “O'Doyle Rules!”

    “Blue Ducks Rule!” Here's a wedgie you crap writer.

    (Seriously, I think I need more sleep or less coffee, gesh!)

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