Writing

Bibliotherapy is the prescribed reading of specific literature for thereputic purposes.

While it has only been defined this way for a short while, human beings have engaged in bibliotherapy for as long as we have physically recorded stories; ancient Greeks once called their libraries pharmacies containing ‘medicines for the soul’.

Bibliotherapy involves texts being prescribed at times when they may prove most thereputic to an individual, and they can prove useful in a variety of ways.

Some stories model growth, others inspire hope and some may offer nothing more than an unexpected but necessary lens through which to understand a situation.

Often, this process follows a regular formula: a person will go through a process of identification, as they realise that the text has some relevance to their own experience; followed by a sense of catharsis as the relationship between the literature and the reader develops into a meaningful exchange; and then insight. The reader walks away from their experience with some understanding they did not possess beforehard.

For someone who writes every day, my grammar is abysmal.

I only just picked up the Australian Style Manual for authors, editors and printers and, if I’m honest, it’s been a rude slap in the face.

I can’t say I agree with the idea that writers should use the tools at their disposal in uniform fashion. But I do believe that a dedication to understanding and honing those tools is essential.

In that regard, this book is a writer’s bible. Poignant at times, strangely pedantic at others, but necessary all the same.

If the mechanics or formalities of writing are at all of interest to you, I strongly reccomend picking it up.

If you go back just 25 years ago, plagiarism was hard work. One had to go to the library, find sources to copy from, retype those sources and then turn them in as their own. By the time one does all of that, they are a large part of the way to doing a non-plagiarized assignment so there was little benefit to risking punishment and shame.

Plagiarism isn’t necessarily about picking out the wheat from the chaff; it is about copying other peoples work without referencing or acknowledging it.

Whether it is Nick Simmons facing allegations of plagiarism in his comic book, plagiarism in crossword puzzles or accusations of plagiarism in photography, plagiarism is a problem in nearly every single field where creativity is valued.

You might think the one area of academia that would be safe from plagiarism is the research and discussion of plagiarism itself. You’d still be wrong.

In 2017, a paper published in Saudi Arabia on the factors leading to plagiarism, as well as suggested remedies, contained plagiarism. In 2015, an Indian paper presenting guidelines for plagiarism was retracted for, once again, plagiarism.

While such incidents are still very rare, especially when stacked up against other areas of research, even the research of plagiarism is not immune to plagiarism.


Incase it wasn’t obvious, I didn’t write a single word of the post above. The first paragraph was from a 2011 article from plagarismtoday.com, the second from an article by Zack Whittaker for iGeneration, and the closing paragraphs were plucked straight from a blog post on Turnitin’s website (the academic plagiarism checker my university uses).

Our ideas, once posted, are no longer safe. But when you’re giving them away, it’s hard to be bothered by anyone stealing them.

Language works in wonderful and mysterious ways. Idioms are responsible for a decent chunk of this wonder.

To someone just learning English, Bob’s your uncle means something very different to what we understand that it means.

In becoming an idiom, the phrase has come to mean something beyond the literal sum of it’s parts.

Idoms are shared through place, but also shift through generations.

We don’t use ‘spend a penny’ to describe taking a leak anymore because we don’t use pennies, nor do we pay to use public restrooms.

For those unfamiliar with the weight categories in fighting, punching above one’s weight might not be a naturally obvious phrase.

And unless you’ve lived out bush, it’s unlikely that you’d ever understand why a cup of tea which is too hot was brewed with short sticks (it’s because kindling on a fire generates more heat that embers or logs).

Take time to catalogue the idioms you know, and the ones you’re at risk of letting go if any certain person in your life were to hit the road.

Writers less creative than you have published books.

Producers less organised than you have made movies.

Entrepreneurs less intelligent than you have built million dollar businesses.

You are not the sum of all your parts.

You are the sum of how well you work. Not how hard, but how effectively.

Hey hey,

A little while ago I mentioned that I was preparing a book pitch and the first 5000 words of a creative non-fiction text. Today that draft was due.

7681 words, way too many hours of reading, and one mad scramble later, I’ve submitted it for my first round of formal feedback. But I felt I’d be remiss not to ask for your feedback too.

This is a link to the first draft. I have my own thoughts about what I like and what I think needs to change, but I don’t want to influence your read.

If you have the time and the inclination, I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have.

You can reach me via any of the usual means, but here is a link to an anonymous feedback form which you can use if you’d prefer.

Much love,

-Luke

We are constantly adjusting our expectations in the backs of our minds. We analyse the results of previous games we’ve played to ensure that the expectations we set aren’t going to bring us grief. We reflect on our greatest successes and our most painful failures to inform which games we’ll opt into playing in the future. Our entire perception of the world is shaped by what we expect of it, and how it surprises us. But for all of these expectations we set, how many can we honestly say are conscious?

Each time we get in a car, do we consciously set the expectation that every traffic light we approach will turn green? Of course not. Still, most of us assume this will be the case.

What if one day we roll up to a traffic light and it just doesn’t turn green? For whatever reason the light, which has always acted as we expected it to, just didn’t. Most of us, despite the fact that the light staying red is causing us no real harm and will be resolved within minutes, would experience a negative emotional outcome which is far more intense than it has reason to be. We become frustrated and upset not just because we’re now a whole three minutes late to brunch, but because we were not prepared for our assumptions about the light to be challenged. This resistance, as it pertains to meaningful pursuits, is what we must seek to avoid if we are to protect our ability to foster long-term practice.

Assumptions are the expectations we set unconsciously, and assumptions surrounding our pursuits are dangerous because when proven wrong, they can lead to the kinds of crushing emotional outcomes that make us want to quit.

We don’t run out of time, we simply fail to seize enough of it.

That big project you’ve been meaning to get around to for weeks isn’t finished for one of two reasons:

Either It’s not as important as you think it is;

Or you’re scared.

Both are entirely valid, but it’s important to know the difference.

If it’s not that important, kill it. Then find something that is.

But if you’re scared… It’s probably an indicator that you’re onto something special.

You’ll never be rid of the the fear involved with doing important things. But you can dance with it.

Thank it for turning up. Be grateful that it’s alerted you to the importance of the task at hand. Then send it on it’s way.

You’ve got more time than you think you do.

Get to work.

It’s fascinating how quickly originality devolves.

Cliches are cliches for a reason. At their core is something pure and magical – they’ve just been done to death.

Nobody wants to hear another poem about a rose or song about crying in the rain.

… Unless you can find a way to do so with unique specificity.

There’s nothing interesting about a man reading a paper on a park bench.

But there’s everything interesting about a man reading a paper on a park bench if he smells distinctly of leeks and there’s a squirrel eating his shoe.

The devil (and the beauty) is in the details.

When people get lucky breaks, it’s easy to dismiss as pure chance. They were just in the right place at the right time… right?

But what if there was an art to being in the right places at the right times?

What if it took hard work and determination to put yourself in positions where your chances of a lucky break increase?

What if you could cultivate serendipity?

Jason Roberts thinks you can.

He believes that luck is governed by a pretty simple formula;

Luck = Doing x Telling

What does this mean?

It means that if you start doing something, you’re going to get better at it. You’ll continue to get better at it the more you do it and after you’ve done it for a long while, and got pretty good, your chances of having a lucky break get better also.

The other side of the equation is telling, and it’s as simple as you think it is. The more you tell people about what you’re doing, the better your odds are that someone is going to swoop in with a serendipitous offer or opportunity.

If you want your project to take off, Roberts suggests you focus on maximising your luck by doing more and telling more people about what you’re doing.

Copyright © 2010 Jason C. Roberts

The shaded rectangles in the above diagram represent what Roberts calls your luck surface area.

The more surface area you have, the more likely you are to succeed (or get lucky).

Doing without telling might lead to isolated genius, but it’s no way to sell your album.

And telling everyone what you’re doing even though you’re doing nothing at all is the trademark of a perpetual procrastinator.

Doing and telling are each necessary because they magnify one another.

Figure out which you do more often, and work on the other.