Writing 101: Let’s Start With The Basics…

Like with any heavy subject matter, it is always better to start with terminology.

All these terms are going to be defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary:


the full or proper portion or part allotted or belonging to or contributed or owed by an individual or group.one of the equal fractional parts into which the capital stock of a joint-stock company or a corporation is divided. verb (used with object), shared, shar·ing.

to divide and distribute in shares; apportion.to use, participate in, enjoy, receive, etc., jointly:The two chemists shared the Nobel prize.

verb (used without object), shared, shar·ing.

to have a share or part; take part (often followed by in).to divide, apportion, or receive equally.

Credit. noun.

commendation or honor given for some action, quality, etc.:Give credit where it is due.a source of pride or honor:You are a credit to your school.the ascription or acknowledgment of something as due or properly attributable to a person,institution, etc.:

Plagiarism. noun
an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author.

As you begin your assignments and your works in progress this month, keep these terms in mind. I want you to know that writing is a profession and a process that depends a lot on merit. You have to know that inspiration is one thing, and cultivating that is needed and necessary. But in that inspiration, you must know that as a writer, as a part of this guild, you are now part of a sect that values intellectual property, ideas, and their protection.

You have to be honorable about your intent when you write!

You can share work that is not yours–you just can’t claim you wrote it.

When you give a writer credit, proper cited credit, you are a credit to this guild. Intellectual property is a thing! Taking credit for something your did not write is unacceptable.

Plagiarism is not the sincerest form of flattery: it is the highest grade stealing! It is not mimicking! It is taking work that is not yours, and making it yours.

Plagiarism is not reconcilable with the creative process. My merit and virtue of this progress, you should be able to conceive, create and translate your own work from thought to a chosen medium. Click here for a resource to help make sure your work isn’t plagiarized (pro-tip: most academic institutions will ask you to submit your work through a site to make sure your work is yours, dear one.)

But as a rule of thumb, consider these three things to keep in mind as you write:

1.) If I shared it, did I cite it? (Make sure you know your writing styles (APA, MLA, etc–including footnotes!)

2.) Did I mention the author/author’s work? If I did, I need to give proper credit.

3.) Is the work I wrote my work? If it is not, start again.

Now, that you know the basics, next week, we can dive in.


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