Previously published?…

I am in the throes of entering literary competitions. All of these state that manuscripts submitted must be previously unpublished. Even posting on a blog is considered publication.

I do realize that much of what I have posted on this blog site have been sketches, or rough drafts of ideas. Of interest to me therefore, is finding an entry of mine altered by someone else in their blog, not profoundly, but enough to be veering on the cusp of plagiarism.

While much of the rewriting I have been doing significantly changes the work I have been recently struggling with, it is obvious their very basis has come from some entries on my blog. Much more polished and extended, much edited, they feel right about now. I have no intention to post any of these on my blog. However, I feel that I am flirting too closely with acceptable and uncategorically stated limits of publication. So with this in mind, I will no longer publish poetry or prose pieces in any form. Lesson, hard learned!

At what point is posting a written sketch, or unformed and inchoate study a straying into the grey area of publication? This is a much debated question on-line and in writers’ circles. Better to err on the side of conservatism until this debate is resolved once and for all?

I’d like to know your considered opinion on all of this! G

6 Responses to “Previously published?…”

  1. Tricia Says:

    The Writer’s Beware had a post on plagiarism yesterday with links to other plageriarism sites as well.

    I have never posted any of my writing on my blog due to the possiblity of disqualification to any contests. It must be disheartening to have your writing “violated” by thieves. I hope never to experience it.

  2. The Querulous Squirrel Says:

    I feel that much of what I write on my blog would not get written at all were it not for my blog so I accept that risk. And I also keep my readership very small by commenting on very few other blogs so that I pretty much know all my readers and plagiarism is not likely. If I want to submit a piece to a journal, I remove it from my blog about a month or two in advance and it disappears from Google like it was never there and I see that as the best of both worlds.

  3. suburbanlife Says:

    Tricia – I checked the Writer Beware site and found it most informative. Thanks for your comment. it is not the end of the world if someone copies and changes my stuff, but don’t exactly know what that person gets out of the experience. I am going to be more cautious about what i post on my blog from now on. G

    The Querulous Squirrel – Your work is so much your own, so unique, that it may be hard to plagiarize, unless copied verbatim. Thanks for the suggestion to remove stuff from the blog and give enough time for Google to disappear postings or references. I am spending much time rewriting my things, and restructuring content, getting rid of redundancies and awkwardnesses, so much so that the stuff i am writing resembles my blog posts in only content, but not structure. Also am adding more comprehensive beginnings and endings. G

  4. ybonesy Says:

    Also sorry to hear about the plagarism. That is probably the most disheartening aspect of blogging and putting my writing and art out there.

    As for something being previously published, there are a handful of personal essays I’ve published on red Ravine that I would consider rewriting and sending in for publication elsewhere. I would modify them substantially, which I would do anyway for a literary publication, or a creative nonfiction one, as what I publish on the blog is generally fast and not created with the kind of forethought that I would put into a print publication version.

  5. christine Says:

    The plagiarism is awful. Some call it content stripping when it happens online. People do it to create copy for their ad-driven websites. Blech!

    I’m in the same place you are as far as sending work out for publication versus posting to my blog. I don’t post anything I’ve worked on and polished. It’s kind of sad, really, because it’s fun to share my creative writing, but I do enjoy having my work vetted by editors. It’s gratifying.

    You’re an excellent writer, G. I hope to see your work published both here and elsewhere.

    • suburbanlife Says:

      Well, it’s good to know the practice has a name – though it seems people are a trifle lazy and unimaginative if they have to resort to doing this. Guess i have to be more careful now if i intend to work some writing up for submissions. G

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