Blowing up a relationship — it’s every blogger’s worst nightmare, and a few months ago, it almost happened to me.
My only steady client sent me a fuming email. She demanded her money back because she claimed I had plagiarized, which was “unethical and… unacceptable.” The worst part: she said, “[I] can no longer accept your article submissions.”
I wasn’t originally given the chance to do a rewrite or explain my side of the story.
I was completely side-swiped.
After all, I’d done an interview with a popular wedding planner on Facebook. I had even sent my editor the transcript, and according to a free online plagiarism checker, my article had 0% non-unique content. (By the way, a 2014 study from Texas Tech found that plagiarism checkers often produce false positives, especially when jargon or “topic phrases” are used. Those checkers can also provide incorrect source links, and score papers inconsistently.)
It turns out I did plagiarize by accident. I’d copied quotes from something I’d read online and inserted them into my piece without proper attribution, so why did my client write this glowing testimonial less than a month later?
Cherese exudes personality in her writing, she consistently expresses innovative tips in a way that our readers love. Cherese has the ability to interview industry experts and summarize their knowledge using language that is easy to understand. Cherese shows incredible professionalism, is always open to feedback and works hard to ensure her posts meet our needs.”
I turned my rocky working relationship around, and you can too.
First of all, take a deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Are you calm? If not, hide your laptop, phone, or tablet. Yes, I’m serious! Go for a walk, scream into a pillow, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (and cry into it), or get down on your knees and say a prayer.
Then pull up your britches and… [Read more…]