We do it all the time, compare things; and when it comes to the work we do with words, a text comparison search could leave us short. When we make a search of our computer programs or the internet, we hope for two very different results. If we are looking to compare our text input to accepted correct versions then the similarity is what we want. But if we are looking for say, comparatively similar text to a created work, then we don’t want them to be the same. A word that should come to mind here is plagiarism.
Especially if you are a writer you want to be careful to make a thorough search of the web when you need to be sure of the originality of a piece of written content. There is a belief amongst the literary elite, and not so elite, that there really is no such thing as a new and original story. The thinking is that writers are simply recycling the classics. This may or may not be true depending on how possessive you are of all the squiggles you have on all the serviettes you have gathered over the years. So it does help to make an efficient text comparison search to avoid any nasty comebacks.
There can be no greater embarrassment for a writer than to be told that they have punted somebody else’s work off as their own. When this is done deliberately of course, then the writer deserves to be found out. But very often it is simply an oversight on the part of the writer, not deliberate deceit. Very often writers are so excited to get completed work submitted, that they neglect to do a simple text comparison search just to be sure that they haven’t said anything that has been said before, in a way that it has been said before. This is irresponsible, to say the least.
Failing to do a text comparison search really can be the death of many writing careers, especially if you write creative copy for magazines and newspapers. Articles in these publications make a lot of use of quotations from people and other articles, and so it is easy to neglect to recognize the source. It probably does have a little bit to do with the creative ego, but we like to sell as much of our work as possible as our own. This is often not the case in a world saturated with information. But taking a moment to check your work against that of others, you save yourself a lot of grief. The worst thing that can happen is that you will have to restructure a few sentences.
We need to approach a text comparison search like a faithful ally. This type of search serves us well in that it ensures that we will always only ever submit the original content of a high standard. If you are making a living from your writing, you will appreciate very quickly how important this is.