I discovered an e-course today that has used parts of my Unravelling course description in its own – some sentences have been changed to fit with the theme of the course, but other sections has been copied word-for-word. Full sentences of mine have been lifted. I have emailed the creator of the course and am hopeful we can get this resolved – I asked that this person rewrite their text to remove the Unravelling parts.
Here’s the thing: all this has made me really sad today because this isn’t the first time it has happened. I’ve seen my uncredited images all over the place and just let that go, but when it comes to the courses I feel I need to take action. Each time I have had to check in with myself to make sure I wasn’t being over-sensitive, but when whole chunks of my work are taken and used by another it really gets me down. I actually don’t think this particular instance was done with any bad intentions – just unthinking – but i am still disappointed.
I know what it’s like – you’re creating a course and you look to others’ work to help in the brainstorming of your own idea. When I was changing my real-life evening class into an online format I knew of only one other online class at that time; i didn’t take the class but I did check out the website and made sure that the words i used on my own site were markedly different. Because I wanted my course to be MINE, and not a watered-down version of someone else’s work. Authenticity and integrity are extremely important to me. I understand how easy it is to cut’n’paste a chunk of text from a website, change a few words et voila! A page of text is written. But it hasn’t come from your heart – it came from mine.
Finding our own voice and creative path takes time. It’s taken me YEARS; a lifetime, really. As I work on my book I’m making a point of not reading any books about creativity/memoir/inspiration because i don’t want the rhythm of my words to mimic someone else’s. I’m trying to keep my head as clear as possible to ensure my words have room to breathe and be themselves, keeping my ear tuned to my story and not another’s. At times this is frustrating as there are some new books I’m dying to read! But for now I’m sticking with poetry and business books (how’s that for a combination?)
Marisa and I are looking forward to finally starting work on our guide next week, and I really hope that the info we share will be useful to anyone who’s putting a course together. We have so much we want to talk about, and I know that authenticity and honouring our own voice will be one of the key topics we’ll tackle. I’m also pushing forward with the series of Blogging Beautifully workshops I mentioned a while back – photography and writing will be covered and I’m hoping this is another way I can give back to the blogosphere. Stringing words together isn’t always easy, so i’m going to share my best tips and ideas – I reckon they’ll be useful for writing e-course descriptions too :)
* UPDATE: I received an emailed apology and the text has been changed, so everything is okay now. Thanks for all your support, loves x