plagiarism [pley-juh-rahyz, -jee-uh-rahyz]

an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author

according to

According to that definition I can not plagiarize myself. But other people (and especially colleges) say you can by submitting the same work twice. But what about re-using an idea? If I type brand new words involving the same theme, is that plagiarism?

I have loads of unfinished novels in my drawer (computer files in my case but drawer sounds better). Some of them have terrible writing, some of them have good writing, some of them have great ideas. And I always have this feeling of doing something bad when I re-use some of my old work in new pieces, even if that old work hasn’t seen anything but the dark wood it is surrounded by.

This feeling is probably because of how harshly it was pounded into my head to NOT PLAGIARIZE. In college they didn’t even trust us to tell the truth; they made us submit all papers to, a website that checks the work for plagiarism against all of the internets.

So what do you think…is it plagiarism to copy your own work if it’s unpublished? Should I relax and not think that the FBI is going to bust down my door if I hit ctrl+c ctrl+v?