A Powerful, Inspiring Interview with Yairelys Lopez
I don’t view my condition as a handicap, or an obstacle. I view it as an opportunity to try things in a different way and see what may come from it.
Many of us find inspiration in others through their personal challenges and subsequent accomplishments. Thankfully, Writer Town is composed of successful people with a brilliant story to tell and very wise words to share.
I wanted to launch a series of motivational interviews so that readers can become more familiar with fellow writers and bloggers. This allows us to know others more intimately and learn valuable lessons from their years of experience.
Whether you’re currently struggling or are living the life of your dreams, you are the source that motivates others to pick themselves up and keep moving forward.
That said, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Yairelys Lopez, a talented freelance writer from Cuba whose physical condition has only made her stronger and better over the years.
In this interview, Yairelys describes what it’s like to deal with blindness and still manage to be a successful freelance writer each and every day.
What are your main passions other than writing?
My main passions other than writing are: learning languages, (at the moment I know Spanish, English, French, Japanese and tackling German.) World cultures are another big passion of mine just like music, dancing and watching movies and anime.
Freelance writing isn’t for everyone, and many people despise the very idea of the job. What got you interested in this field?
When I graduated from university as a linguist, I had, (and sometimes still have,) a very hard time getting hired for a job. The main reasons for this are of course my visual impairment.
Many employers can’t come to terms with the fact that my disability is no impairment at all and that I’m capable of performing any job just as well as any other employee thanks to many of today’s technological advances and my own determination. My qualifications and skills are another reason that intimidates employers.
They don’t want to pay the rates that would be required to hire someone with my credentials. I have even tried to dumb down my resume, but it has not worked out for me. One day, after I had one too many rejections, I decided to turn to the freelance world and my love for writing.
I started off as a freelance translator, but of course with the competition in that field it was big fish eats little fish and I made little progress there. That is when I turned to freelance writing. It wasn’t easy, I have had plenty of stumbles and disappointments and I don’t consider myself an expert at it by any stretch, but what I have learned in the past five years has shown me that freelance writing is the perfect job for me.
Not only do I get to make a little extra money each month, but a lot of the time I get to speak up my mind and show the world my most honest opinion. Some assignments are not fun, but I always embrace each writing assignment with an open mind.
Since learning new things is something I highly enjoy, it has never been an impediment for me to dive into an entirely new writing assignment and come out with plenty of knowledge that I can put to use in life, so it is a win-win situation for me. That is what motivates me to continue pursuing a job as a freelance writer.
Your visual impairment can obviously be a hassle, especially when your job heavily relies on it. How do you work around blindness?
Since I was little my visual impairment has been posing challenges in my life and I have enjoyed conquering each and every single one of them. I handle my job the same way. I view each opportunity as a challenge that I must conquer and instead of considering myself visually impaired, I see myself as a blessed individual because I can approach things in a different way, think outside the box and come up with new fun ways to get things done.
Assistive technology plays a huge role in how I handle making a living. For example, I would not be able to use the internet or be a freelance writer and book writer without my screen reader, Jaws. I would not be able to read new informative e-books without my IPad and so much more. When there isn’t any assistive technology that could aid me, I get creative and improvise. At other times, asking for help has come in handy whenever I’m between a rock and a hard place.
Despite your experience handling such setbacks, what are some things you continuously struggle with that many of us take for granted?
Graphics are the one thing that I continuously struggle with. For most writers finding an appropriate photo to go with their articles, a nice book cover, or a cover photo for their blogs is something that is quite natural and enjoyable.
Unfortunately my assistive technology is not very supportive of graphics yet, or any page that has a lot of graphic buttons, graphic charts and Flash Player components. These things will always be an obstacle for me and every time I am faced with the task of finding a suitable image for an article, or anything dealing with graphics, I have to ask for assistance from family and friends. Thankfully my supportive husband always has something ready for me to use.
We’re all humans, and it’s easy to feel down when the odds are seemingly stacked against us. How do you keep your head up and stay strong?
I have fell down plenty of times. I have even felt like I perhaps want too much that I’m in too deep and asking too much of myself and more than once have considered giving up. When those difficult times arrive, I stay focused and motivated by reminding myself of all the things I have accomplished throughout my life.
If I was going to stop every time someone told me what I wanted to do was impossible and I would never amount to anything, I would have never made it to where I am. I would have never put myself through college and graduated at the top of my class in university, I would have never been able to learn Japanese if I had let others’ opinions shape the course of my life.
That is why, when life gets me down, I think back and remember all those significant moments in my life and I find in them the motivation and courage I need to keep going strong, no matter how bad things may seem.
What would you say to other writers whose physical disabilities try to get in their way to a better life?
What I always tell other writers and people in general whose physical disabilities try to get in the way of their life and their life goals is: Be true to yourself, always be yourself and know your potential. Don’t let yourself be guided by what others may think are your boundaries and limitations. Only you know your true potential. Only you know how far you can make it in life and only you can make it happen.
Don’t view your physical disability as an obstacle; view it as strength, a motivation to keep pursuing your goals till you make it. When faced with a challenge, or obstacle, think outside the box, forget the normal ways on which people do things and come up with your own unique ways.
Use any means at your disposal, be it assistive technology or anything else you may consider helpful and never be ashamed of reaching out and asking for help. Those who understand you and value your hard work and dedication you put into achieving your goals will understand and be more than willing to aid you in any way there can be.
You will be surprised how many lives you touch with your actions and yes, even with a physical disability, you too can reach your dreams of being a successful writer and anything in between!
Writing is often not just a job, but a deep passion. What is your ultimate mission besides monetary compensation? What keeps you coming back with a smile?
Besides monetary compensation, my main mission in writing is to reach out to people, to share my views, touch others and gives them a little piece of joy, a little aid like so many more have given me. Be it through a short story, an article, what puts a smile on my face is the knowledge that I have touched a life out there and have made an impact on someone’s world for the better.
I love reading the comments readers leave on my articles letting me know what they thought, how they feel and I welcome their views, opinion and even constructive criticism. As a story writer and book writer, I love it when my clients read one of the stories I have written per their request and they have been blown away by my writing, or deeply touched and the same goes with those who read those stories. I love to know what they think, the impact I have made on them with my words and that to me is priceless and something money can’t buy.
Are you currently working on (or have planned) a major project such as a book or an autobiography? Can you tell us a bit about that?
Right now I’m working on a series of short stories that I plan to self-publish on Amazon as an e-book sometime this year. I’m also working on a major book series and an autobiography as well. The book is a supernatural fiction e-book series about a young shinigami; it has very dark themes and plenty of action as well.
The series caters to adults, although young adults can enjoy it just as much. I plan to release this in early 2016 as a self-published work if I do not find a publisher for it by then. An autobiography will be coming also in the middle of next year because I feel so many out there can benefit from my personal experience and life story.
Who is your hero or biggest inspiration?
Aside from my father and husband, who are my number one motivators and biggest fans, my hero and biggest inspiration is my maternal grandmother. She passed away 2 years ago after fighting for 30 years with diabetes. She was such a strong woman, so determinate, so loving and wise.
Throughout her life she gave me tons of useful advice. She was always there whenever I needed someone to talk to; someone to hold me, or comfort me and her wise words always motivated me and she made me believed that I was capable of greater things in life. Her own life was a huge inspiration for me and the last seven years of her life, she was so close to death so many times, I thought I would lose her, but she always bounced back and found strength where there shouldn’t be any time after time.
Her determination to continue living was a true inspiration for me.She was there when I needed her the most and in return for all the wonderful things she did for me throughout her life, I want to make her proud and give her a reason to smile everyday wherever she is.
You can also find Yairelys Lopez on the following pages:
Have additional questions for Yairelys or wish to add your two cents? Feel free to comment below.
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