Who Really Wrote Your Piece?

Do a search on almost any set of words and you’ll find multiple sites that quote them exactly. I was trying to find the originator of a quote one of our authors wanted to include, so I typed in the first few words and got a listing of multiple sites that quoted that exact quote. The problem is not one of them gave attribution to the originator.

When I see that, I wonder who really wrote the quote (or blog entry, essay, or article). Anyone can copy other people’s stuff, but it takes skill and ability to write the original.

I suspect one reason people don’t give credit is they haven’t done enough research to find out who credit belongs to.

Another reason might be the source isn’t deemed influential enough to matter. Some people think you need alphabet soup after your name to be credible. Or you need a fancy title. Or you must be famous. Or (pick your criteria).

Some writers have good sources but are concerned readers won’t accept those sources as credible enough. Don’t let that stop you from giving credit where due. Organize sources by whatever credibility criteria  you select (title, awards, fame, credentials, etc.) and give attribution to each source in your writing.

Your sources do matter to your reader, so make sure you offer your good sources in the best possible light. When you do, everyone wins–you, your reader, and your source.

And that brings me to facts versus opinions. If you can back up your writing with facts, by all means do so. But don’t hesitate to also quote opinions–as long as you clearly identify that what you’re writing is an opinion. An example is: “Sarah Anderson, co-founder of Widgets, suggests people are more creative in the early morning hours because their minds are uncluttered by the day’s activities. John Jones, a creativity coach, believes the opposite is true because people draw on the events of the day when they create.”

The bottom line is make sure you are the one really writing your piece, and if you’re including other people’s information in your text, give credit to the originator.

Happy writing!



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