Freelance Writing - How to Avoid Plagiarizing Your Own Work

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Whether you are a seasoned freelance writer or one who is just beginning to get their feet wet, you need to read this to learn how to avoid plagiarizing, specifically from your own work. Up until now writers may bypass all articles and tips regarding plagiarism because you know without a doubt that you write your own work. Besides, isn't plagiarism something one does willfully and intentionally? Not necessarily.

As a freelance writer, you may have several different avenues for which you are writing for. This is encouraged and a lot of times, freelance writers look to keep adding to their workload from various venues to keep things interesting. However, if any of your freelance clients use your material for use on the World Wide Web, there are certain things that you should keep in mind to avoid plagiarism.

Know Where Your Work Is Being Used

If you are working with an online media platform, chances are your work is definitely in cyberspace. Most companies that utilize freelance writers dictate in their writing guidelines the various places where written content will appear. If you're ever unclear, be sure to ask. Unfortunately, the web allows users to copy, paste and post articles which could cause a plagiarism flag.

Many magazines and newspapers are moving with the speed of technology and adding their content to the web as well as print. If you take on work for a magazine or newspaper as a freelancer, be sure to ask if the content you will be providing will be used on the internet. In fact, you should make it standard policy to request notification from clients if and when your work will be placed on the internet.

Writing For Multiple Online Platforms

First, you are fortunate to have multiple online platforms that you can write for. When you freelance write for several venues, you expand your options to be able to choose the ones that either provide the most exposure, or ones that are the most lucrative. Additionally, depending on freelance writer's submission guidelines and requirements, you may have one platform that allows you to write with ease due to less restrictions, which can be an entirely relaxed, "for fun" venue.

Here's Where Plagiarizing Comes Into Play

Many seasoned freelancers who write for numerous online media organizations will write one article and modify the same article to be able to use or submit it on other sites. In the event you elect to do this, there are a few things that you must understand and consider.

  • First, you are trying to save time by using the same article for your efforts. Make sure that the work required to "change" the article is worth the time. Failing to do a good job making an article already written a "new" one could result in plagiarism; plagiarism of your own work.
  • Make sure to change the title entirely. Titles can flag an article the same as content with some software. It's important to modify the title without losing or defraying from the meaning of the work.
  • Each sentence should be modified by rewording and/or rephrasing. Be sure when modifying that you maintain the context of the content.
  • In the event sources are used, consider adding relevant content to utilize alternate sources for reference and information.
  • When writing content for an online media source whereby you retain all rights to that article, please know that simply deleting the article to use for another venue will not necessarily work. In most cases, the article will be flagged for plagiarism. Instead of deleting and trying to use the same article, rewrite it changing the title, adding unique information and sources if applicable.
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