[Note: It’s just too hot here to write or do much of anything today, so I’m recycling. Sort of. This is a modification of a post I originally published on another site in February 2007. (Yes, the other site also belongs to me.)]
Unfortunately, well-known authors sometimes have no compunction about passing off other writers’ words as their own. I’m not a well-known author by any means; however, I confess that I once was guilty of doing a little plagiarizing. But I haven’t done it lately.
I haven’t plagiarized anyone else’s writing since I was in the seventh grade, way back in the Early Jurassic Period. That’s when I copied a short article from the World Book Encyclopedia. My classmates and I had to write reports about various trees. I don’t remember if I was allowed to choose which tree I wanted to write about or if the teacher assigned that one to me. Either way, I just couldn’t get excited about oak trees.
As I do recall, most of my classmates felt the same way about the project and also copied their reports from encyclopedias. Yes, I know that “everybody does it” is no excuse. But, hey, I was a kid; I really didn’t know any better then. And anyway, my 200 plagiarized words about oak trees did not get me a six-figure contract from a major publishing house.
When the teacher read our reports, he must have suspected that the majority of class members had copied the information from whatever encyclopedia was handy. I think that more than one student was assigned to write about a particular tree. I still wonder if the teacher discovered any “duplicate” reports. If he did, he never mentioned it in front of the class, and he never told us that that we should have written the reports in our own words.
Since seventh grade, everything I’ve claimed/admitted to as being my written work has been my very own. Yes, my work is strictly mine. So if you don’t like what I’ve written, you can’t blame anyone else.