Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Editor, Writer, or Poet?

As usual, I’m not happy unless I have something to worry about. So naturally, I’m wondering about the subtleties between editors, writers, and poets.

As you know from previous posts, I started writing poetry when I was a teenager. I tried for years to get my poetry published but was always greeted with a rejection slip.

Since I had never been published, I decided to face the fact that maybe my poetry was crap. Soon, I seemed to have little or nothing to say, no ideas. Maybe I was immature and needed to live life a little more, I told myself. So I stopped writing poetry almost completely, except for the fits and starts here and there in futile attempts to resume where I had left off.

My latest reincarnation as a poet seems to be real and sustainable. So what’s the difference this time? Well, as an editor of a nonfiction, niche publication who also happens to write for the magazine, my work is published on a regular basis. It’s not poetry, but publication is now a mountain I have climbed. Also, I make a point of saying that I both edit and write because I believe these are two distinct skills. I know brilliant editors whose writing is an unorganized, illogical mess, and writers who have no editorial judgment.

So am I an editor who can write or a writer who can edit? Well, I can say that editing is easier than writing but that writing is more satisfying. When I edit an article, I consider whether the author of the piece is saying what she or he intends to say. I really identify with the writer, I think, because I am a writer first and foremost.

So where does being a poet fit in? I’ve written some fictional short stories and have bits and pieces of writings as part of a novel I started. I would definitely like to explore those avenues even further.  But right now, I’m much better at capturing the story of the moment, voicing thoughts so fleeting as to be almost imperceptible.

For now, I think I’m a poet who writes.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010.


Comments on: "Editor, Writer, or Poet?" (16)

  1. If I had to call myself anything, as a writer, it would be a hack, no matter what it is I’m writing. “I’m ok with that,” she says with a grin. If I had to compare a prose writer to a poet…I would think that words are a song, prose is the lyrics, and the poety is the music. Cliche? I don’t know. Lovely post, Sweepy.

    • Thanks so much, Lady. But I must say, I’ve read your blog and a hack you definitely are NOT! I think that’s a great way to describe the difference between poetry and prose.

  2. I too, am all three. And I am happy enough with that.

  3. NESI WRITES said:

    Poet: A writer of poems. One who is especially gifted in the perception and expression of the beautiful or lyrical

    Writer: writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay)

  4. Either ways… I’m just glad you feel you re-established yourself as a poet! 🙂

  5. being not published is no reason to stop! from what I read here you write well.

    • Thank you, Jane! When your confidence is down, like mine was at the time, you begin to doubt yourself. Like many people, I think, I still struggle with that, but I’m coming out on top more often than not.

  6. Nice post,

    I’ve been an editor, publisher and writer myself. And I have to say it’s much easier to be an editor when it comes to someone else’s work. That being said, I think of self editing as part of the writing process. The part of your brain that is looking for exactly the right word is the editing part, helping the writing part along. Hemingway once said that a good writer must have a built in B.S. detector. I think that while not always true, it is a good quality.

    Being published has little to do with being a writer. I believe that writer’s write because they have to, but the money and recognition sure don’t hurt.

    And a poet is a writer, just as much as a novelist is a writer. They’re both just specialists in the same field.

  7. I sometimes think a poet is someone who can’t help herself but a prose writer knows better. I heard one teacher say poetry is the purest art form because there is never going to be any payoff for writing it. I write poetry and have done so since I was a child because I can’t not. Poetry is something that isn’t an option. If you’re a poet it’s under the skin, in the blood and no amount of rejection can take that from you.

  8. […] Racial America Editor, Writer, or Poet? Audience of One (In this post, I was supposed to be talking to myself, ie, my own audience) In Real […]

  9. […] my life for which there were no boundaries–still a handy lesson to remember now that I am a writer and a poet […]

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