What is original content? Original content is unique music, inventive lyrics, one-of-a kind words or works of art that come from our true selves. I love synonyms. Here are some synonyms for the word original: authentic, initial, first. But the more interesting synonyms come in the second layer, as in taking the word authentic and drilling down to the lower levels for the synonyms of authentic: authoritative, accurate, convincing, legitimate. Powerful words, no?
On the opposite side of the writing mountain is the word plagiarism. Plagiarism is the ‘wrongful appropriation’ and ‘stealing and publication’ of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. I’m citing Wikipedia here. See? It’s okay to use other people’s work if attribution is given.
Furthermore, Merriam-Webster defines plagiarize as follows: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source.
Trend Alert: The ease of copy-paste tempts the weak, but does not give anyone permission to copy, plagiarize or otherwise “borrow” content. Why would people want to do that anyway? Look at the words above: Authoritative, accurate and convincing. They are not my words. The thesaurus says it’s so. People want to present themselves in their best light, so the best way to do that is through original content.
Having an outside writer compose for you is cheating if there has been no mutual agreement. So if someone like Biff Tannen in Back to the Future bullies you into writing their papers for them, that’s cheating. Remember? Marty’s father George McFly wrote Biff’s papers for him. Ghostwriting is different. In that case, the person has knowledge that their words are being written by someone else. In fact, they specifically ask someone else to write for them. See my ghostwriting blog post here.
Believe in yourself and your originality. Make your own content. It’s one of the 10 commandments, isn’t it?
“Thou shalt not steal.”
And for good reason. It’s also related to: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” Who says their writing is better than yours? You’re the expert!
More to the point: Thou doesn’t wanteth to be stolen from. Right? So don’t stealeth!
To see why it’s great to have original content click here for a link to the Ebook by Kathryn Atkins, “10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Writer.”