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Writer above All Else

Posted by CW64 on October 16, 2009

This is my first post on a blog that serves as a means for my musings in writing, editing, online moderation, teaching and tutoring–all of which collectively comprise my professional career. My primary call, however, is that of writer, as this comes as a priority over all the rest.

Hence: Escribo, luego existo ("I write, therefore I am").

 It is in this light that I love talking ’shop’–not only to pass on insight and sharing my own ideas about what constitutes writing, but likewise to gain insight in return. Such accumulation of knowledge and development of instinct help  one to grow as a writer in nothing other than a positive sense, and why write if one is not going to grow and change in her or his craft?

I have to admit, however, that I have been hesitant to share myself due to the countless egos that stomp through many a venue as if something needed to be proven, especially when said egos insist on cutting others down in the process. These individuals, for some reason, actually think that disparaging other writers makes them ‘better’ in the long run.

News flash: No one is perfect!

I realized a while ago that such ill-treatment of others, including me, was not due to one’s negligence or shortcomings, but those who bellowed the loudest and meanest. A simple act of turning and walking away shouts loud messages that one will not be a victim, and that, truly, renders such castigations ineffective.

Thank goodness for certain people in my life–several of them professors and scholars in their own right–who convinced me writing was my calling and that I should be proud of my abilities. In the end, the only person who can destroy me as a writer is me.

That lesson told me that I needed to develop a thick skin (not to mention a few impressive pieces of work to substantiate myself, which I have succeeded in doing). In the writing field, a thick skin is not only crucial–it is mandatory. If I don’t have one, my failure is guaranteed.

Yes, this, in a way, sounds idealistic (I am now 45, so my experiences have played a hard lesson in teaching me the difference between idealism and reality), but it is also true (my experiences have also shown me where idealism and reality intertwine, and they do at times). Still, it is a minefield, so every writer must watch her or his step if s/he is to be successful.

As an editor, I have served on various publications, the first being a literary journal for which I was and still am one of the founding editors, even though I am no longer with the venture and haven’t been for a few years (once a founding editor, always a founding editor, reminiscent of the eternal bond shared by those persistent Jets in West Side Story).

My roles as moderator and that of translator have at times overlapped, as I once was offered a position on a Spanish-oriented advice forum by a young webmaster who had noticed my familiarity with the language. I intend no boasting here, only explaining myself and sharing that with you.  From there, I translated texts as well, which is always a challenge. I love cultures and languages almost as much as I love writing. As the saying goes: one can learn more about one’s own language by learning other languages. That’s strangely ironic, yet it is true. After all, every active language in the world today has come about through the influence of some other language(s).

Now I have two advanced degrees to my name and have been working as a professional [writer, et al]  for a number of years and counting . . . That definitely says something.

What can I say except that my thoughts constantly flow on about all of this–a vast inundation of logical and sometimes illogical conceptions and considerations. To me, everything has significance, so I do not allow myself to be shackled by pure logic, because there is more to the world than that; we can find something of worthiness in everything if we look hard enough.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you stick around and share your stories as well. Can you relate or are you unable to relate? Why? Let us know. I respect others as long as they respect me.

CW64

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