Two Naughty Four-Letter Words · 14 August 2011

When people say, “four-letter words,” they usually mean naughty words or words with naughty connotations. While this blog will not test anybody’s resistance to vulgarity by any stretch of the imagination, it might make those with weak constitutions a bit queasy. After all, perhaps two of the most hated four-letter words in the English language are “edit” and “work.”

For many writers, edit is a four-letter word because we often think that our writing should be perfect the first time it comes out. We think that just putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard should produce works worthy of not just publication, but of showers of praise. And for some reason, we think that it is our divine right as writers to get it right the first time. At least I do.

Actually, I am lying again. Often times, I really do not believe that my writing is more than just drivel. Okay, most of the time. Or if not drivel, unworthy for human consumption. Or worse yet, not funny.

There are times though when I really like what I write. At least until I look back on it several weeks or months later. That is probably why I usually just throw my stuff out there and never look back. I do not want to see how bad of a writer I really am. Besides, when I look back, I often find the need to perform that terrible four-letter word – edit.

Whether my readers (both real and imaginary) believe it or not, I actually do edit all my work. I edit and rework pieces until they are ready or at least until my deadline is up.

Even though I love writing and editing, I have come to realize what I do is actually the most hated of all the four-letter words in the entire English language. I actually work at my writing.

When all is said and done, we must all work at our professions. Whether that profession involves pushing a broom, pushing a cart, pushing students, pushing pencils, or pushing keys on a keyboard, everybody must ultimately perform some sort of work. At some point in time, everybody needs to stop playing solitaire (or reading blogs) and get their jobs done.

Work, work, work. Some people cringe when they think about it. Some people shudder when they just hear the word. Some people avoid either saying it or doing it. I know that I do.

(Do not tell my boss this, but I never really do any work. I just go to my school and boss kids around all day. It is not any work at all. Or at least it does not feel like it. I suppose that I am getting something done. At the very least, I help my students figure out whether they like computer programming and engineering stuff. And I help them find something they love to do so that they will not have to work a day in their lives. Or at least that is what I try to accomplish.)

Okay, so I lied again. I do work. I work at teaching and I work at writing. It is just that neither really feel like work. I love what I do and I do what I love. And when it comes to writing, I even love to edit. Not so much after my work has been on the internet for the world to see, but like I said, I edit my pieces over and over until I must put something onto the web. Most of the writing and editing is done in my head before my fingers ever hit the keyboard, but I still edit, edit, and re-edit before I put something out. Well, I usually do.

I hope I did not scare too many readers off by all this talk about perhaps the most hated four-letter words in the English language. Then again, if I did lose too many real readers, I suppose I could just replace them with imaginary ones. But I suppose even imaginary readers do not like those naughty four-letter words, edit and work, anymore than anybody else does.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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