With millions upon millions of articles being posted to the internet every day, it can seem very overwhelming to a student or content creator wanting to get their work out there when it seems like for every idea you have, there are hundreds of people before you who have created similar, perhaps better content. How do you write well and stand out when you seem to be producing the same ideas and talking about the same topics as everyone else? Especially in academia, where accusations of plagiarizing can be devastating to a student’s career, how can we know if what we are producing is original? If you are one of the many who face this dilemma, here are three tips to help you overcome this fear and create original content you can be proud of.
Take a Break from It All
Very often, when we go to write a paper, blog post, article etc. we do plenty of research beforehand, searching for people with similar ideas and statistics that support our hypotheses. While this can be very helpful, it can also be pretty detrimental. Reading a wealth of information similar to what you are writing just before you start to write can result in you accidentally copying the words of others. To avoid this happening, take a break before you actually sit down to write your piece. Better yet, translate your research into your own words and then use that to write from, as this will greatly reduce the likelihood of you indirectly plagiarizing others’ work.
Protect Your Work and Be Proud of It
If you do end up accused of plagiarizing or even just stealing an idea, don’t worry. As long as you know that you have acted with integrity, you have no reason not to be proud of the work you have produced. You shouldn’t be afraid of defending your work and integrity, however, it is best to avoid a situation where you have to defend yourself. There are certain measures you can take to avoid accusations of plagiarism, the most obvious of course being to check your work for plagiarism yourself. Even if you haven’t plagiarized anyone else’s work, occasionally you will find that your work and someone else’s are shockingly similar. Luckily for students, there are websites that can check your work for plagiarism before you submit it, which use plagiarism tools with advanced algorithms to detect a problem.
Put Your Own Spin on It
It may sound cliché, but there is only one you in the world, you are truly unique, and this gives you an advantage. Even though hundreds of people before you may have written about exactly the same subject as you, you are the only person capable of writing about it from your perspective, so use that to your advantage. Try to develop your own point of view, independent of the opinions of anyone else, and the chances are you’ll end up creating some completely original content.