I’m a Plagiarist

When I’m unable to come up with an interesting article, I usually copy other writers.

Stock Photo from Negative Space

When someone accuses me of not being original, I tell myself, “Alright. No one is original anyway. Every piece of writing is inspired from other writers.” The next morning, I have a new article.

I’m a boring person with a monotone writing style. I always use the same composition pattern, for example, like this sentence where I add a pause — or maybe another em dash with a superfluous explanation. No one notices this unless they read all my articles.

This probably makes me the worst writer, but I don’t care. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I want to write.

In fact, I will tell you a secret. This article plagiarize Derek Sivers’s post on slow thinking. I will read every paragraph, and then write down my thoughts by copying his sentence composition. Then I will claim this piece of writing as mine.

It’s a common fallacy that writers must be original. They must choose every word and string them together as if they haven’t been written before. You’re always copying others. The originality is the fruit of years of mimicking the writers come before you, and also the wisdom passed down from the people around you.

If you take the time to check your previous writing, you’ll see that it comes from stories you have once read. Or maybe some childhood writing practice your teachers wrote on the whiteboard.

The main point is: you can only improve writing by accepting that you’re learning from other writers and experiences. It’s not original, but that‘s OK.

When someone accuses you for not being original, you can say, “I’m getting closer to become original the more I learn and copy from other people,” and resume your activity of mixing hundred writing styles into one of your own.

But things happen. Someone will leave a comment stating that you’re just another copycat. But you can say absolutely nothing.

And maybe, you can just continue writing, ignoring those people.

I write whenever I’m unable to sleep, and because I’m bored with my own writing styles, I find that maybe copying other writers will teach me something new.