A Year Later: How Being Plagiarized Caused Me To Lose My Voice

plagiarism and copyright infringement personal  A Year Later: How Being Plagiarized Caused Me To Lose My Voice

By now most of you know that last January I discovered that a number of my blog posts had been plagiarized by a well-known young adult book blogger. To make matters worse, the articles of some of my personal blogging idols had also been plagiarized by the same person.

This post isn’t about rehashing the dirty details. It isn’t about re-opening old wounds.

It is about coming to a realization.

It is about sharing why I only posted on this blog a minuscule 18 times following that discovery last January.

It is about admitting that I was so disheartened but what happened that I somehow lost my voice.

… and it is about trying to pick myself up. Dusting myself off. And finding my voice again.

A Voice Lost

I know what you are probably thinking.

 ”She’s crazy.”

“She’s clearly over-reacting.”

“Get over it already.”

Well guess what? You may be right. Maybe I was/am over-reacting. Maybe I should be over it by now. And maybe I am crazy. But none of that changes the way I feel.

I started this blog in 2010 as a way to escape from a broken heart. Back then I didn’t have any plans for it. I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t have any direction and I didn’t have a voice of my own. I was a mess and it came through in my writing.

Somewhere along the way that changed. I started to connect with people in the blogging community. I joined ModlyChic’s Friend Friday series. I not only became passionate about what I was writing… I became passionate about the act of writing itself.

I found my voice and I was damn proud of it too.

That all changed in 2012.

I know plagiarism doesn’t impact everyone in the same way. I know that Vahni, Jamillah and Fajr were able to move on with their writing after it happened with their voices intact. I’m not saying it didn’t impact their blogging lives at all – I know it did. But they were able to get past it and move forward.  That wasn’t the case with me.

Maybe it’s because blogging helped me reconnect with my love of writing. Maybe it’s because it was such a personal outlet for me. Maybe it’s because I took particular pride in a number of the posts that were plagiarized. Maybe it’s because I am a crazy Scorpio. Maybe it’s because I was the one who discovered it. Maybe it’s because I respect another’s writing too much to ever do that to them.

I don’t know the exact reason that I took it as hard as I did but I do know that I took it personally.

When I first learned what happened I felt violated. Something had been stolen from me—my thoughts and my words—and I hated how helpless it made me feel.

Helpess, yes. Defeated? No. Not initially.

It wasn’t until the plagiarists true identity was revealed (by someone else) a few months later that things took a turn for the worse.

It was a scandal and it was ugly. It was personal.

Some people defended the plagiarist. Some defended us. We were introduced to a slew of new bloggers, many of which I now admire. That was a positive.

But during the height of the scandal our writing was belittled more times than I could count. It wasn’t worth anything. Anyone could string together what we had done. They weren’t original ideas. It was no big deal. We over-reacted. Etc. etc.

But that too passed. Everyone moved on with their lives. Back to business as usual.

Yet suddenly I felt like I had nothing left to say. No idea seemed good enough.

I began to question everything and I began to doubt myself.

So I just stopped.

I stopped writing.

I stopped trying.

At first I blamed it on being too busy. Not enough time to write!

Then I blamed it on being too stressed. Real life problems!

Then I blamed it on my other blog.  That one is more important!

But then I realized the true problem.

The reason I wasn’t writing on Beautifully Invisible anymore was because I didn’t believe in myself anymore.

The reason I wasn’t writing anymore was because I felt like I had nothing to say.

The reason I wasn’t writing anymore was because being plagiarized and belittled in the aftermath stole my self-confidence and it stole my voice.

The reason I wasn’t writing anymore was because I was watching all the blogger’s I respect move forward while I was frozen in place by my own self-doubt.

Is that a typical reaction to being plagiarized? Probably not. But it was my reaction.

Moving On

Plagiarism is more than just stealing someone’s words. It is more than just stealing someone’s thoughts and ideas. It is about stealing someone’s passion.

That is what happened to me. The plagiarist and the scandal that followed did more than just steal my words. They stole my heart.

Now that I understand what my problem is I hope that I can start to finally move forward.

I hope that I can stop doubting myself.

I hope that I can recapture the passion that writing used to bring me.

I hope that I can silence the negativity in my head and finally find my voice again.

Because I miss it.

And I miss all of you.

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                                                              • No Labels July 16, 2013, 9:42 AM

                                                                I want to let you know I’m so sorry that plagiarism happened to you and the other writers. One cannot predict how this can impact a person. I don’t think you are wrong in still feeling hurt over the situation and how ugly it turned. The perpetrator’s non-apologies would reopen the wounds just when they were beginning to scab over. I’m glad you are on the path to finding your voice. Take care of yourself.

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                                                              • Sanya Mathur April 29, 2013, 1:34 PM

                                                                HI,
                                                                Funny thing is that I, too, have recently started blogging following a broken heart. They really suck don’t they. I suppose you should ignore the people who criticise you, although difficult, it is the only way forward. If they have time to take from you, you definitely are SOMETHING and your thoughts and passions mean alot. :). ANDANDAND, I’m a scorpion too. Mahn, destiny :’). Haha. Anyway, don’t stop writing because its you one friend that won’t leave your side even if you write the same thing over and over again. You gotta show the world – #keepwritin’. Love your blog :D

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                                                              • Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile February 3, 2013, 12:07 PM

                                                                I personally think that because blogging is one’s own choice, it’s essential to be honest with yourself. You could have gone on blogging with a half heart but you chose to stop and think about what being plagiarized meant to you and you weren’t okay with it and rightly so. Being plagiarized is becoming a trend these days and as much as it is disappointing, there is no end game except to get popular. It’s like high school all over again but a virtual one.

                                                                I just really hope that one day you get your voice back, the reason of why you found the passion to write. I love writers and a writer who stops writing is a loss of art. Hope you can finally move on. Best wishes.
                                                                Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile latest blog post: Book Haul #18

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                                                              • Heidi/The Closet Coach January 30, 2013, 2:55 PM

                                                                You *have* found your voice again–and here it is. Welcome back.
                                                                Heidi/The Closet Coach latest blog post: Working mom outfit of the week: Suited up in menswear

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                                                              • Fajr January 28, 2013, 2:54 PM

                                                                B! I’m glad that you have been honest with yourself despite what other people think. Sometimes when things happen to us it robs us of a little of the joy we once felt. Personally, moving to NY took a little of my passion away and I am now working to reclaim it. Kudos to you for identifying the issue and working to get back to blogging. The blogosphere needs your voice, always remember that.

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                                                              • Jamillah January 28, 2013, 12:04 AM

                                                                Oh B! This made me so super sad. You are a shining person in this blog world and I have missed you and your smart, thoughtful, sparkling writing and insights. And this ish is NOT your problem, this is so their problem. Every theft, every mean word, every negative person speaking out of ignorance has really nothing to do with you and the really special work you do on Beautifully Invisible. It is all about them and how they reacted to being disappointed and their skewed views on what fashion blogging is and them coming to defend someone they admire, nothing to do with you or what you do.

                                                                I don’t know if I really made sense of my thought, but I went to therapy for a long while for things that I really just couldn’t get over and you know that scene in Goodwill Hunting “this is not your fault” that is so true! I mean obviously this is not your fault and I’m sure (and hope!) you don’t think that, but it was more about recognizing that people did unfortunate things because of their own workings and not because of me and coming to that realization really gave me the power to let those things go and believe in myself again. Don’t get me wrong sometimes it hurts me still, but when I get that feeling I really take a step back and remind myself that those actions are not my problem, that is their problem and sadly I was there but it still has nothing to do with me.

                                                                I wish I could’ve been there for you while you were going thru all this. I sent you a couple of emails in the midst of all these things, so I don’t know if you got them. Let me know and I’ll resend what I sent! Happy things :). And I really hope you come to NY in the near future so I can treat you to much deserved drinks and give you a great big hug. Love you B, you are still my blogging role model.
                                                                Jamillah latest blog post: Ethical Riding Boots and How to Wear Them

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                                                              • Nina January 27, 2013, 10:16 PM

                                                                There is nothing so beautiful as climbing out of that dark valley and standing in the sunshine. Glad to see you. Welcome back.

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                                                              • Donna January 27, 2013, 10:06 PM

                                                                What happened last year was disgusting and I ended up disassociating from Kristi and any of her minion followers that blindly supported her. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t help enable that kind of behavior. And to think she continued to prosper from it. She had authors on her website in an attempt to validate what she did and for many of us that only repelled us from those authors as well. It’s a sad situation and it really did fracture the YA book blogging community. It was even more awkward when she deigned to show her face at Book Expo America as if she were the same person that hadn’t just ripped someone else’s content, lied about it, evaded an apology and then silently condoned her minions attacking everyone involved. It was awful.

                                                                While your reaction may not be “standard” your situation wasn’t “standard.” You got power-played by an asshole that drained you of everything you had and simply stood up taller at the end of the day. It doesn’t surprise me that you pulled away but the fact that you’re back now says something. Yes, it affected you differently but now you can finally move on. Please don’t let some shithead take your voice from you. It’s not worth it. She’s not worth it. Get it back, hold on to it and display it proudly. It is you and you will not be defeated. I know you’ll do fine.
                                                                Donna latest blog post: OMwF: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

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                                                              • Sarah January 27, 2013, 6:16 PM

                                                                I don’t really read beauty and fashion blogs (I’m not trying to say there is anything wrong with them – just that isn’t where my interests are) so I hadn’t heard of your blog until the scandal kicked off last year. I was, and still am, horrified and disgusted by what happened to you – not just the plagiarism but the outright bullying you suffered after everyone found out about it. It was bad enough that you were a victim but even worse that people then blamed you for speaking out against what had happened.

                                                                The whole thing made me feel ashamed to be part of the YA blogging community which is awful because in general the majority of book bloggers are wonderful people. I have made some amazing friends in the community and I know that none of them would ever support what happened. I can’t even imagine how I would have felt in your place and I can completely understand that it had a major impact on you. I just wanted to say that I hope that you are able to find your voice again and rediscover your love of blogging. You should be proud that you stood up for yourself and your friends but I’m so sorry about what happened to you all. I hope that you are able to move past this and put it behind you and I hope nothing like this ever happens to you again in the future.
                                                                Sarah latest blog post: Review: On Dublin Street – Samantha Young

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                                                              • Bookworm1858 January 27, 2013, 9:33 AM

                                                                This is such a sad post to read-I’m a YA blogger who was shaken last year to find out about that plagiarizer and who has been disgusted by the persistent plagiarizing going on. I had not heard how this caused you to lose your voice and am so sorry to find out about that. I hope you are able to recapture your passion and go back to writing. I really appreciate you sharing about this.

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 2:03 PM

                                                                Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’ve been keeping up with the YA blogging community since this happened and was just reading about the latest plagiarism issue. I’m so sorry that your community keeps going through this, but one thing I did learn last year is that you stick together when things like this happen, so it’s nice to see that the latest victims of plagiarism have so much support.

                                                                Thanks for the words of encouragement… I am getting there :)

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                                                              • THE-LOUDMOUTH January 26, 2013, 5:03 PM

                                                                B, I wish I was there to give you a big hug. I’m so glad you’re back, but please do take your time. Don’t feel rushed to recover. We’re all different and react to things in different ways. What happened to you was HUGE. It’s completely understandable that you would take it personally. Much love to you, hun!
                                                                THE-LOUDMOUTH latest blog post: Look :: My Big Fat Housewarming Party

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:59 PM

                                                                Thank you Stephanie! Sometimes (oftentimes) I feel silly for taking this as hard as I did, but you are right… We all react to things in different ways. I’m looking forward to turning the page on this in 2013 and moving forward! Xoxo

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                                                              • Derek Thompson January 26, 2013, 12:16 PM

                                                                Hi there, sorry to hear about your situation. I found someone was stealing my entire blog a year or so ago. I contacted their provider and their pages were promptly shit down. Even so, it leaves a bitter aftertaste and made me wonder what drives someone to do that. Is it desperation to have fresh content, admiration, or laziness? Sadly, I never found out.
                                                                Derek Thompson latest blog post: ESI

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:55 PM

                                                                I am sorry to hear that happened to you Derek! I’ve had other blogs scrape my content before and had to contact their hosts, but this was the first time someone plagiarized my work in this manner. I’ll never understand what drives someone to plagiarize…. I think it’s a combination of factors, but whatever the reason they not only hurt the victim, they hurt themselves in the process as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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                                                              • Madigan January 26, 2013, 9:52 AM

                                                                Don’t get discouraged. Keep on writing and blogging. If you stop – well… that’s like letting the terrorists win!

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:51 PM

                                                                Thanks Madigan… I’m going to try my hardest to get past my insecurities! Appreciate the support.

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                                                              • Liviania January 26, 2013, 1:47 AM

                                                                I feel like sending this to the people who questioned my decision to remove Kristi from my blogroll.
                                                                Liviania latest blog post: Who is Marcus Finch? (Day 4)

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:50 PM

                                                                Thanks for reading and commenting Liviania! I’m sorry that people were questioning your decision to remove her. Everyone had to decide for themselves what do do when the truth came out. Not everyone will react the same way, but they should respect your decision and not question it.

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                                                              • Heather fonseca January 25, 2013, 11:48 AM

                                                                I’m so glad you’re back! So many of the blogs I read when I was first starting out have faded away. I was the saddest about yours because I always loved your writing and your voice. Ill put you back on my reader. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say in 2013!
                                                                Heather fonseca latest blog post: The Importance of Fashion Accessories

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:47 PM

                                                                Thanks Heather! I know what you mean about blogs fading away… Some of my favorites have as well. It means a lot that you stuck with me and Thank you so much for the kind words… I am honored to know you felt that way about my blog! I hope 2013 has great things in store for both of us!

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                                                              • Marissa January 25, 2013, 11:12 AM

                                                                Coming from another crazy Scorpio, this makes complete sense to me. We grow to have a certain faith in the goodness of the blogging community based on the amazing relationships we form, and something like plagiarism can shatter it all, unfortunately. I hope this post means you’re back for good, but we’ll all understand if it takes some time.
                                                                Marissa latest blog post: The ABC of Architects

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:44 PM

                                                                Thanks Marissa! I’m getting there… It’s a long journey but everyone’s support means the world to me. Hope you are well!

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                                                              • Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud January 24, 2013, 10:32 AM

                                                                How. I. Have. Missed. You.

                                                                You are NOT crazy- you just got hurt and your recovery time has taken a while. I am glad to see you back. Dusted off, and up. Your passion, your articulated honesty and attention to detail is what makes this blog so good- your voice so strong. I look forward in seeing what you’re going to create now that your voice is wiser, stronger and, dare I say it? Found.

                                                                Welcome back. We love you too.
                                                                Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud latest blog post: Outfit Post: The "NEW" Black

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:23 PM

                                                                Bella, you know how much I love you. Thank you for sticking with me through the good and bad times :) You are one of my biggest inspirations, always have been. Xoxo

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                                                              • Cameron January 23, 2013, 10:50 PM

                                                                Welcome home.
                                                                Cameron latest blog post: Outside the Box: Karen Casi

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:21 PM

                                                                It’s nice to be back :)

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                                                              • Alyssa January 23, 2013, 10:15 PM

                                                                Thank you for sharing. I am a writer, and I know that I fear someone stealing my work (even if I doubt that it’s worth stealing). I teach, and I plan on sharing this with my classes to illustrate the impact plagiarism can have on someone’s life. You write beautifully, and I hope that you can reconnect with your voice. Good luck.

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:21 PM

                                                                Hi Alyssa, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I hope that you never have to go through something like this yourself. I think it’s wonderful that you are teaching your class about plagiarism and if my story can help even one person see how far-reaching the ramifications truly are this whole fiasco would almost be worth it. Good luck with your class and with your writing!

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                                                              • Katy January 23, 2013, 4:37 PM

                                                                B – This is heartbreaking to read. I’m so sorry the whole ordeal took away your voice and your passion. In a minor way, I can relate. The online bullies, cruel anonymous comments, etc… they all take a toll. I can’t imagine going through everything, reading all the comments and finding it possible to ignore it all. Words hurt and people can be cruel.
                                                                For what it’s worth, there are many of us who love and support you and this blog. We look forward to seeing your posts, whether it is 18 or 300 posts in a year! I hope you find the strength to rise above all the negativity and see what an amazing and talented writer/blogger you truly are.
                                                                Katy
                                                                Katy latest blog post: Stackable Arm Candy

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:16 PM

                                                                Thank you so much Katy, for both the understanding and the words of encouragement. There is definitely a lot of cruelty to be found in the blogosphere, but despite everything I think it is far outweighed by kindness. People like you work hard to encourage a real sense of community that is priceless. Thank you for that!!!

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                                                              • Courtney January 23, 2013, 1:02 PM

                                                                THis post struck really close to home, not because I’ve been plagiarized or criticized, but because other circumstances in my life have made me step away from blogging for the same reasons. It’s been a rough couple of months for me personally and during that time, I’ve basically stopped blogging. It was odd because it was such a HUGE part of who I was for so long that when I took a break, I felt like I lost something.

                                                                Point is, no one has to steal from you to make you feel like you’ve lost something for some reason or another. Things happen that push us away, either consciously or unconsciously, from the things we love. I’m with you on the getting back to it though. I miss having a voice.

                                                                Thank you for this post. It’s exactly what I needed today :)
                                                                Courtney latest blog post: How Red Lipstick Taught Me to Be Brave

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 27, 2013, 1:11 PM

                                                                Hi Courtney! I’m sorry to hear that you have been going through something similar in your own personal life. No matter the cause, this feeling is something I definitely understand. Hang in there… I know your voice will return to you stronger than ever!

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                                                              • Kirsty vizard January 23, 2013, 7:24 AM

                                                                I hope you can find your passion and voice again as you write so eloquently. No one has a right to steal your words, your confidence or your pride in what you do and I doubt that that they would plagiarise Stephanie Meyer or Charlaine Harris or Brodi Ashton . . . Keep strong and remember there are those if us who want to hear you. With love xxx

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 12:16 PM

                                                                Thank you for your kind comment Kirsty! I am touched by the support I’ve received since posting this. Your words inspire me and hopefully they will inspire my writing as well!

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                                                              • Kristina Major January 22, 2013, 3:38 PM

                                                                Hi B, I was only just introduced to your blog from a post that V from Grit and Glamour did about Responding to Comments. I am a very new blogger (like maybe 2 weeks lol) so I don’t know much about the blogging world and the not so great things that people do to hurt you. But, being a Scorpio myself (Nov. 5th!) I do understand your emotions and feelings (our passion can make us dramatic, but it’s what makes us who we are) and I know what it’s like to once write and lose your ability to. Don’t ever feel that because someone thinks you’re “overreacting” that your feelings are lessened. I am so sorry for what happened to you and your fellow bloggers. And I wish you well on your journey back to yourself. You can do it!

                                                                Kristina

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 12:22 PM

                                                                Hi Kristina, thank you so much for visiting and for your sweet comment! You may be new to the world of blogging but you are already making great decisions! Following people like V from Grit and Glamour will only serve to strengthen your blogging and writing. She has been an inspiration of mine from the beginning and I learn from her every day. I am so glad that her post brought you here and allowed you to share your thoughts with me. We Scorpios are a passionate bunch and we take things to heart. Now that I have an understanding of what my problem is I know I’ll be able to come back stronger than ever. It’s just going to take some time. Baby steps!

                                                                Good luck with your blog – looking forward to watching it grow!

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                                                              • Any Second Now January 22, 2013, 3:12 PM

                                                                I remember when everything happened, and I’m so sorry that it has affected you so. I hope you do find your voice again, because it IS imporatant, and you ARE valued! Your words are still your own, and it’s the ones who stole them that know in their heart that those words did not originate with them.

                                                                We miss you!

                                                                xoxo
                                                                Cyrillynn
                                                                Any Second Now latest blog post: Weekend in Pictures: I Heart Shimmer!

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 12:24 PM

                                                                xoxo Thank you so much! It means a lot to see that some of my old blogging buddies have stuck with me through my silence. You guys are what keep me from giving up!

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                                                              • FASHION TALES January 22, 2013, 1:45 PM

                                                                Oh B, reading this made me understand how much I missed you and your writing, always so honest and heartfelt. But, as someone who has been plagarised (in the art and creative world) it is definitely not easy! A lot can happen in a month and even more so in a year … so, I do hope that you know that despite all of this you are a warrior. And, though we may not see or hear it those who did wrong will certainly reap what they have sown. I’m sure in time, you will come back in some form, yes, you … just as radiant and poetic as ever! /Madison
                                                                FASHION TALES latest blog post: Leopard + Fur: Friend and Faux

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 12:28 PM

                                                                Hi Madison! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I’m sorry to hear that you have also had your work stolen. That is something I would never wish on anyone. It really is a violation and I don’t know that people who haven’t been through it understand quite how disheartening it can be. I don’t know that I would ever call myself a warrior but I thank you for that. I might call myself stubborn :) And the fact that I am so stubborn is what keeps me going. It’s a long road yet but I’ll get there!

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                                                              • Julie@my5monkeys January 22, 2013, 1:32 PM

                                                                I am so sorry to hear that, and I totally understand why you wouldn’t want YOUR words stolen. They were your works . We all grieve over things differently and I hope that you find your voice again. Don’t doubt yourself and Move forward .
                                                                Julie@my5monkeys latest blog post: Blog Confession- Quitting

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 12:29 PM

                                                                Hi Julie, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. This post was step one in my journey to move forward. Hopefully with time the doubt will fade and I’ll be back stronger than ever!

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                                                              • Midnyte Reader January 22, 2013, 10:57 AM

                                                                I am part of the book blogging community and what happened last year was horrible. You can’t talk yourself out of your own feelings so give yourself permission to have them. And, I know it’s difficult, but when other people try to invalidate you, maybe try to remember those that said, “I call B.S.” It was wrong, you were wronged and that’s that!
                                                                Midnyte Reader latest blog post: Book Blogger Confessions – Calling it Quits on Blogging (Monday, January 21, 2013)

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 12:33 PM

                                                                Thank you for that. This post was my own form of therapy. First step: accepting what happened and understanding the full extent of the fallout. Next step: moving on!

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                                                              • Chris January 22, 2013, 10:11 AM

                                                                I first wandered into the blogging/twitter world a year ago and found my way to your blog through several of your other followers just as this was going down. Do you know what makes me the saddest about all of this happening to you? That I never got to hear your voice until it was already taken away. She didn’t just steal from you, she stole from everyone whose lives you touched with your words, thoughts and pictures.

                                                                Someone else said it similarly, to please go back to writing simple things and let them lead you onward. One of my favorite weekly reads is Monday Morning Quarterback by Peter King on SI.com. I’d read the phone book if Peter wrote an edition. His advice to a young writer was to write until you were sick of it, and then go write some more.

                                                                I’d offer that same encouragement to you. You have a gift that you had to walk away from. You have the strength to come back to it and I pray that you are able to do so.

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:11 PM

                                                                Ok, I am typing through tears right now.

                                                                Thank you SO much for taking the time to leave your thoughts, and thank you for this comment especially:

                                                                I first wandered into the blogging/twitter world a year ago and found my way to your blog through several of your other followers just as this was going down. Do you know what makes me the saddest about all of this happening to you? That I never got to hear your voice until it was already taken away. She didn’t just steal from you, she stole from everyone whose lives you touched with your words, thoughts and pictures.

                                                                I wish everyone who is is considering plagiarizing or stealing someone else’s work could read this. It speaks to how far reaching the ramifications truly are.

                                                                Thank you, Chris. So much.

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                                                              • GRIT & GLAMOUR January 22, 2013, 9:14 AM

                                                                B, I’m so glad you wrote this, for a plethora of reasons, but mostly because it explains more to me why you didn’t post as much on BI last year. I know on a personal level, you had a lot going on, and I thought it was that. I never connected the plagiarism incident and your silence…and well, now that REALLY pisses me off.

                                                                Since I am a writer, I know how personal the words one strings together can be. I know what it feels like when you really nail a piece, when the words just flow and the reaction you get from others proves that you did indeed nail it. I also know writer’s block, and insecurity, and feeling bewildered and unsure.

                                                                But let me say this: the mere fact that Kristi of The Story Siren stole your work and mine, shows that it IS that good—no matter what a few sycophants who lack morals and clarity might say. It’s hard to ignore people and words that are aimed at you, but we both know that anyone who attacks the honest person to defend the dishonest one is clearly in denial and not playing with a full deck. There is a certain subset of the population, that when faced with the ugly truth, come out swinging, even when they are know inside THEY are the ones who did worng. I’ve witnessed this many times in my life, and the most recent prime example of this is Lance Armstrong.

                                                                I hope every time you think you’re not good enough, you remind yourself that if you writing sucked, no one would want to pass it off as their own. Cheaters don’t look at the paper of a class failure when they need an answer. They look at the TOP DOG. That’s you, babe! (Not a dog, of course, but tops in stringing together some very salient, well-composed, poignant thoughts).

                                                                And also remember this: the truth is it’s lonely at the top. I’m not kidding. The more success you have, the more haters you have. Just accept that there will always be someone who thinks you’re sh*t. What determines whether you’re at the bottom or the top is whether YOU believe it.

                                                                Welcome back. You’ve got this. I know there is inspiration around that you want to write about. Let it flow, like no one else is going to read it. WRITE IT FOR YOU. You’ll see that when you just forget about pressure or measuring up, and write what’s in your heart, that it won’t fail you. I promise.

                                                                xo

                                                                V.
                                                                GRIT & GLAMOUR latest blog post: Tips for Balancing Social Media and Your Relationships

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 4:47 PM

                                                                Oh V, I don’t even know where to begin.

                                                                You are right. I did have a lot happening on a personal level in 2012, and that certainly did add to my absence as well. In fact, it was easier to blame my personal life for my lack of posts than admit to myself what the main issue was. For a long time I was ashamed to admit to myself that this whole plagiarism debacle scarred me. I’m not a weak person, so why was I suddenly paralyzed when it came to my writing? It was a blow to my own ego to admit what was really going on, so I denied it for a long time. I mean, how could I still be dwelling on this when you and the others handled it so beautifully? It was writer’s block but on a whole new level. You have no idea the amount of posts I started and discarded before I even composed two complete sentences.

                                                                I also know, in theory, that everything you wrote about why our work was stolen and the misconceptions of others is true. I would likely be saying the same thing to you right now had our roles been reversed. Unfortunately, this turned into a situation where there is a disconnect between what I know to be true and what I feel. Honestly, I think this whole experience had me going through the seven stages of grief and I got stuck in the depression phase. I’ve finally moved beyond that and hopefully will be back on track in the near future. I think this post was actually my personal ode to the “acceptance” phase. I finally see things clearly and know what I am battling!

                                                                I will always be grateful that I have such wonderful people around me and I will always be grateful for your support through this and a myriad of other things. I wouldn’t be the blogger I am today (or strive to be) if it wasn’t for your encouragement. You inspire me every day with your talent, beauty and wisdom! Thanks V, for everything.

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                                                              • ravi January 22, 2013, 4:08 AM

                                                                yes, sometime word are short of expressing the content of mind, mind has images but words are not easily framed, L.I.F.E z playing with us, at dat moment.

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:11 PM

                                                                Thanks for commenting!

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                                                              • Franca January 22, 2013, 3:53 AM

                                                                I am so sorry to hear that! I am wishing you all the best and hope you find your confidence again!
                                                                Franca latest blog post: Our new street

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:11 PM

                                                                Thank you Franca – I hope you are well!

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                                                              • Jenmarie January 21, 2013, 11:42 PM

                                                                You’re stong, B. Everyone deals with things differently and there’s nothing wrong with the way you’re feeling. I know that when you’re ready, you’ll be back with a bang!

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:12 PM

                                                                Thanks Jenmarie. One step at a time. I’ll get there :)

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                                                              • Melanie @ Reviews of YA Lit January 21, 2013, 11:20 PM

                                                                First just let me say, you are not overreacting. You are entitled to a reaction when something like this happens. It didn’t even involve me, though I maintain the same type of blog as your plagiarist, and I cut back on the blogging because it was so friggin’ stressful. And disappointing. And it kind of seemed like “why even bother?” if someone else can just take my ideas and all the credit. But here’s the thing.

                                                                YOUR WORDS AND YOUR WORK WAS SO GOOD THAT SOMEONE STOLE IT. Someone who openly said they despised plagiarism. She didn’t copy anything from her own blogging community but went out of her way to find something she felt was worth risking something she had worked very hard to create. And was successful at. Okay, this might not be that helpful. But look at this way: if everyone creative and intelligent stopped sharing their perspective with the world because someone with lesser intelligence and creativy stole or belittled it, how much would that suck? The world would suck. So, you must find that missing voice of yours. Like put out an APB/BOLO stat.

                                                                You were stolen from, bullied, and harassed through NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN because…brace yourself. Some people suck. At being people. At being honest. At being the bigger person. At having integrity. Do not let them suck out your voice.

                                                                The whole premise of your blog is finding beauty in the every day. I know you still see it. Write about it. Write some really crappy, stream-of-consciousness-why-am-I-even-bothering posts. Then write some better ones. Your voice will come back. Find a picture of that scene where Ursula is stealing Ariel’s voice and throw darts at it. Or since the thief in question was a member of the mermaid community, maybe throw the darts at Ariel. Whatever you have to do.

                                                                Reading your posts from right after the unfortunate event, I can see what a passionate and effective writer you are. (And I’m an English teacher, so I know good writing when I see it!) No one can take that from you, even if it feels like they have.

                                                                Again, I’m sorry this happened. But I have no doubt you can find that voice and that passion for writing again. And hey, maybe it won’t be your old voice you find. Maybe it will be a new one. One that has survived something really hurtful and is stronger, bolder, and wiser for it. Best of luck to you!
                                                                Melanie @ Reviews of YA Lit latest blog post: Revival ~ Jena Leigh

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:23 PM

                                                                Hi Melanie, thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. I think this particular line may become my new motto in life:


                                                                “… if everyone creative and intelligent stopped sharing their perspective with the world because someone with lesser intelligence and creativity stole or belittled it… the world would suck.”

                                                                Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I definitely am familiar with the “why even bother” feeling you described. You don’t know how much it pains me that this whole fiasco had such a negative effect on the book blogging community. I know it was a difficult time for everyone in your community and all I can do is offer my thanks for all of the support we received from its members. As for those who weren’t quite so kind, only they can decide for themselves how they truly feel about everything.

                                                                Thank you for your sage advice as well. I may need to find that photo of Ursula and hang it in my office!

                                                                Perhaps most of all, thank you for reminding me about the kind of writer I was and for showing me what kind of writer I could yet become.

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                                                              • AnimeJune January 21, 2013, 8:18 PM

                                                                I’ve had this happen to me – I’m struggling to get out of it even now. I haven’t been able to come up with new ideas. I’m super-self-conscious of anything fictional that I write, and I end up deleting it and rewriting it again and again.

                                                                Sometimes you just need to recharge your passion batteries, wait until you find something to inspire you. Get into consuming – read as much as you can, explore as much as you can, take in as much as in you can – the more life you live the more opportunities will come to bring back your pizzazz!
                                                                AnimeJune latest blog post: The Weekly Wanting (22) and the Power of Blogging

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:26 PM

                                                                I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a similar struggle right now, but I certainly do understand how you feel.

                                                                Thank you for the words of encouragement – I know that you’ll find your direction again soon. Hopefully I’ll be right behind you!

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                                                              • CarlyB January 21, 2013, 2:24 PM

                                                                This is so upsetting to read; I’m so sorry that this happened to you and it was somebody who is part of the YA community who made you lose your voice. I’ve been part of the YA blogging community for three years and nothing has made me more disheartened than this scandal last year.
                                                                I honestly hope that you feel more inspired this year and that you are able to fall back in love with writing. Since I discovered your blog last year I’ve been back a few times and have always loved your content.
                                                                I know I’m a stranger but I wish I could give you a hug.
                                                                And a cocktail.
                                                                X

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:28 PM

                                                                Carly, thank you so much. I would take you up on the hug AND cocktail in a second!

                                                                It means a lot that you’ve been back to visit since discovering my site last year – I’m sorry I wasn’t able to provide more content for you in 2012. Hopefully that will be changing soon!

                                                                xoxo

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                                                              • MJ January 21, 2013, 1:29 PM

                                                                First of all, I must say that I missed you terribly and thank you for being so truthful and honest.

                                                                As a fellow writer, I completely understand how you feel. We writers wear our hearts in our words and to have anything like what happened with you last year can totally rock our world. It’s so okay to feel how you feel and that passion you had before will bring you back to writing. :)
                                                                MJ latest blog post: Fierce Fashion: Wedge Sneakers

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:29 PM

                                                                Girl, I missed you! Thank you so much for commenting and for sticking with me through all of this. You are the best!

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                                                              • Erin Eymard January 21, 2013, 1:13 PM

                                                                Wow….I just browsed your blog to read what happened and am at a loss for words. Wow doesn’t even begin to cover it. I think the most heartbreaking part of this tale is definitely your loss of your passion for writing. But I applaud your return to blogging and hope to see much more from you (I subscribed through email). As long as you had loss your passion and quit blogging, you let the plagiarizer and her defenders win.
                                                                Erin Eymard latest blog post: Author Interview – JD Hallowell

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:31 PM

                                                                Hi Erin, thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate everyone’s support and words of encouragement. 2012 was tough but I am definitely not a quitter. Sharing my feelings in this post really has helped me to refocus, so hopefully I’ll be back in the swing of things sooner rather than later!

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                                                              • Anna Crosswell January 21, 2013, 1:06 PM

                                                                Great post. I hate that this happened to you, but hopefully this post will allow your voice to speak again. #kudos for not giving up completely. Those 18 posts you did post shows that you aren’t a quitter. As you said, grief hits ppl all kind of different ways. Maybe now however your mourning period is over. *hugs*

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 2:33 PM

                                                                Thank you Anna. I think the mourning period is finally over. Being able to share my thoughts and the kindness that all of you have shown me have been invaluable in getting me to this point. Thanks again!

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                                                              • Wendy Darling January 21, 2013, 12:52 PM

                                                                Reading this post made me so sad. I’m so sorry, all over again, that this happened to you. I’m no stranger to having my own words copied or to having ridiculous scandals flare up, and it affected me deeply as well. Like you, I took long breaks from blogging and it seemed the longer I was away, the less rewarding it seemed to come back.

                                                                But I eventually did, and I’m really glad you have, too. This violation of your work is shameful and reprehensible, and nothing will ever change that. But hopefully with time, the wounds you received will hurt a little less. Hugs to you! And wishing you lots of strength and inspiration moving forward.

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                                                              • Beautifully Invisible January 23, 2013, 4:22 PM

                                                                Hi Wendy, thanks for taking the time to comment and thanks for the kind words. I really didn’t mean to stir up any of the past hurts with this post – it was just my way of dealing with the loss of my voice. I had to articulate it to really accept it, if that makes any sense. I’m sorry reading it made you sad, and I am sorry this kind of thing has happened to you in the past! What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? :)

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