But focusing on writing authentically does

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There’s a well-worn mantra from those proffering the secrets of their success on this platform: publish a story every day no matter what. You’ve got to feed those fickle algorithms before they go begging elsewhere.

I’m all for getting an insight into the processes of other writers but hearing this all the time is just making me tired.

Reducing writing to a productivity exercise skews its purpose and takes all the joy out of it. Writing is so much more.

Publishing every day isn’t the same as writing every day

I’d be the first to agree that regularly exercising the…

A response to the “What I love about being LGBTQ” writing prompt

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To be LGBTQ is to be defined as much by what you’re not as what you are.

Historically, society has excluded us from being players in the main game of marriage and family. Although gains have been made on these fronts, we still sit outside social norms that shape them. And that is a good thing.

There is freedom in not having to conform to expectations that aren’t relevant because they don’t speak to you. You get to shape your identity and how you live your life on your own terms.

Freed from expectations, there’s space to carve out a more authentic self. Many of us do this through identity labels; they can be a stepping stone…

*A total figment of my imagination

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The testimonials of people who turned their passion/hobby/offbeat obsession into a lucrative income stream and left their dull job behind were intoxicating. I just couldn’t get enough. I read, I listened, I absorbed. On the phone to boring clients; waiting for the traffic lights to change or the coffee to brew. These little rays of hope reached in through the tedium and promised an eventual escape from it.

In the end, I would have to confront the unavoidable truth head on: I hated my job.

I started with walking dogs for the people in the apartment blocks in our street…

Here’s what awkwardness feels like from an Autistic perspective

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I’ve chuckled with recognition at social awkwardness memes, and there’s a t-shirt I quite like that proclaims: I came, I saw, I was awkward. It’s self-deprecating and relatable, appealing to our common humanity. Because human interaction is inherently complex, and we all get it wrong from time to time — right?

But what if awkwardness is not the occasional amusing faux pas but your default way of being? And what if there’s no hope for conquering social awkwardness because the rules are designed for people whose brains are wired differently?

When you’re Autistic, the flipside to the awkward behaviour that…

Bottom-up thinking: what it is, why it’s useful and the limitations

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When I was at university, writing essays was a special kind of struggle. I would eventually manage to complete them, and sometimes did quite well. But I always suspected that I laboured over them more than was necessary, or at least more than others did.

I thought it was just my anxiety compelling me to leave no stone unturned in checking sources. I was determined not to miss any relevant details and wouldn’t rest until I was confident that I’d captured it all. It’s not that I doubted my…

Lamenting my abandoned story drafts

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The main reason I write is that I have things to say: information, ideas and opinions that I want to give shape to and share with others. But sometimes the execution isn’t as seamless as I would like.

If I’m lucky, the right words spill from my brain onto the screen. It might be a messy jumble but there’s a unifying core that will pull it together with a bit of time and effort. There’s usually a moment in the drafting process where I can confidently say that it’s got legs.

But it doesn’t always go this way. Sometimes I…

There’s a difference between not having a father and having one who is absent

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

My daughter doesn’t have a father and she’s okay. She has two mothers — two parents who wanted her, planned for her and are focused on giving her everything she needs. She is loved unconditionally.

She was conceived through IVF using an unknown donor. We’re grateful to him for helping us out, but his role as genetic parent is a very specific one. He’s not her father and this is reflected in the law of the land. Sometimes we need to remind people of this when they casually enquire after the father.

Having two mothers is my daughter’s normal. She…

I can suggest a few reasons but does it really matter in the end?

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I’m torn when I see the photos of lesbian weddings on social media. They’re scenic and aesthetically pleasing, some are even beautiful. The couple basks in their obvious love for each other and the guests buzz with the collective triumph of just being there.

I’m torn when I see that one is wearing a tuxedo and the other one a flowing white dress with a train and veil: the bride and groom from the wedding cake writ large. There is a photo of the bride throwing her bouquet and oh god… something to do with a garter. …

I wish I had spoken out about what happened to me

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I wrote recently about how I was bullied by judges when I was working as a litigation lawyer. This morning I heard on the news that an independent investigation has substantiated two women’s complaints of sexually inappropriate behaviour by one of those judges, Joe Harman.

One of the women was a junior court employee, the other a former law student of Harman. The conduct, including sexually suggestive emails and unwanted physical contact occurred over a 5 year period.

I appeared in front of Harman when I was representing clients in family law matters. I’m not suggesting that my experience is…

We didn’t expect another lockdown

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I was settling in for a quiet few weeks off work and that’s certainly what I’ve got with Sydney, Australia going into COVID lockdown for two weeks. It’s coincided with school holidays, much to the despair of the travel and hospitality industry, not to mention parents.

We didn’t expect to be here now. We really thought we’d left the virus behind. We had started talking about the 2020 lockdown as though it was in the distant past. I wrote a story fairly recently which lamented the phasing out of social distancing. Well, sharing seats on the train is off-limits again…

Justine L

A keen observer of life, here to put in my two cents worth. I write about neurodiversity, relationships and LGBTQ issues. justinetangerine999@gmail.com

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