I’ve been wanting to start my own blog for several months now. I discovered that I love anything writing, reading, and researching. However, something almost always held me back. It was like the cucuy, an invisible monster under my bed…okay, maybe when I was 5 years old I believed in the cucuy (El cucuy is Spanish for ghost). Nonetheless, I was being haunted as an adult! Sounds childish, right?!
I felt insecure about my writing even throughout my dissertation experience.
You see, English was not my first language and, somehow, I had internalized the belief that because of this I couldn’t possibly be a good writer. I was born in the U.S. and all, but, as we know it, many grow up in this country with a primary language spoken at home that is not English. (See Pew Research Center Fact Tank).
My first language was Spanish. Till this day, I often think in Spanish and speak in English.
Whaaaat? Yes, often, especially when I am on the spot, such as presenting to an audience, my nerves kick in and I forget my words. My brain quickly scrambles for what I am trying to say and it often does it in Spanish. I find myself quickly having to translate and speak the darn word(s). It sounds like quite a process, but really, it all happens in a matter of seconds.
The funny thing is, put me in front of a true Spanish speaking audience, and then the opposite happens. Yes, insert fist palm to forehead emoji here. Well, the same occurs when I’m writing.
Sometimes I even write words that I did not even know I knew the meaning to.
And there’s my insecurity. I mean, you wrote a whole dissertation, stop it already! (so says my inner voice).
So what changed? Three things.
First, I can honestly say that the cucuy still haunts me, however, I have become more confident in my writing and I have realized that my bilingualism is a major asset. Puedo hablar e escribir en dos lenguajes (I can speak and write in two languages). Although the Cucuy may still appear, I’ve learned to confront it rather than let the fear of it take its course.
Secondly, it was not until I attended the ACPA About Campus Writers Retreat that
I realized how much I was letting fear control my ability to write.
Through a series of writing sessions and feedback from the About Campus editors, I learned that I had important things to write about. The retreat demystified the writing process for me. My article for About Campus is a work in progress, but that in itself is progress already.
Third, while attending the ACPA Convention this year in Columbus, OH one of my goals was, well, to work on my goals. I looked for any workshops and professional development that would help me advance in my career. The universe heard me and led me to Sinclair Ceasar’s workshop on “How to Start a Blog and Build a Following.” (visit https://thesapronextdoor.com ). This workshop simplified the process for me, and when I reached out to Sinclair he made it seem simple, he wrote “All you need to do is write a rough draft, edit it, edit it again, and go ahead and post it,” (email communication April 16, 2017). He had a point, I had to just sit down and write.
So here I am, tackling my inner Cucuy and sharing my first official blog.