It was bound to happen sooner or later.
The muse, standing by the door, gave you one of those lingering looks that says, it’s not you it’s me. But secretly, you know it is you. And so does she.
Before you know it, she’s out the door with her suitcase in her hand and she’s shacked up with another writer down the road.You find yourself left with a blank mind and a blank page and no matter how hard you stare out of the window, you can’t think of a single thing to write. The ideas well has dried up and it’s time to hand in your word processor and retire from the writing game once and for all.
Nobody overreacts like a writer does.
Still, it’s a fact that the muse will walk out on us every once in a while. But we can woo her and entice her to return. You won’t need flowers or chocolates though and the Dark Arts won’t be much use to you either. But a little underhanded gamesmanship can win her back.
Stealing, The Honest Way
Plagiarism is something that every writer is concerned about. Even after sending a pitch to an editor, many writers worry that their idea may be stolen. It’s unlikely to happen, but if it does, it’s just tough. I know that sounds harsh, but there’s simply no copyright on ideas.
Of course the flip side of this is that there’s nothing stopping you from cribbing the ideas of other writers, except you own sense of fair play. But remember, there’s a huge difference between stealing an idea and plagiarising entire chunks of content.
The, not so secret, secret
To be successful at this you should be reading the magazine articles, blogs and books that cover your niche. And if you’re not, what are you doing? Constant research is the key, so do try to keep up.
Having read your competition’s take on the subject at hand, you need to ask yourself the following:
- Did the author answer all of my questions?
- In my opinion, did the author speak to the right people to get relevant answers?
- Did I agree with the authors point of view regarding the subject matter?
- Did the author say everything that needed saying?
If the answer to any of these questions is, no, then there’s your article.
Don’t be scared of rewriting someone else’s piece if you feel they haven’t done a great job. Just don’t start having personal digs at them when you do your reworking. Speak to a different set of experts for a different point of view. Come at the subject from the opposite end. Say all the things that haven’t been said.
Whatever you do though, make it your own.
And there you go. You’ve stolen someone else’s idea to kick start your own creativity and all without plagiarising. Feel free to help yourself to cake.
And don’t go thinking it won’t work for fiction as well. After all there are only so many original stories. So, if you’re reading enough of your chosen genre, the ideas should come easily. The only hard part is finding the right words.