This is the decision every creative person has to make to ward of pirates; do I fortify my ship with iron cladding and conscript lawyers to man the cannons, then wallow in defense mode? Ew. I chose to build a sleeker, quicker boat. I paint, I sketch, I write. I've made my living as a freelancer since 1983. My resources go into offense. I create more, different and faster to outrun image and idea thieves. Sure they eat my food, but I'm always making more. (And attorneys are fat enough.)
This thread reads like being stuck in the doldrums. With guns.
But hey, if you've written something original with emotion, skill and verve, you have what it takes to draw even a wobbly cartoon sketch to illustrate it. And that is faster than looking for a CCO that someone else created and everyone else uses. I love seeing amateur illustrations and will read those articles first. Or... maybe there is a camera in your phone? Credit yourself!