Dispatch 7 - Writing with Dyslexia

Tuesday, July 16, 2013



I remember how frustrated my mother used to get because I could not spell the word bed. For the life of me, I could not make my hand write the word bed until someone pointed out that it looked like a bed. My poor mother . . . what we didn't know then, and what I wouldn't understand until I went to college, was that the minor inconvenience I experienced every time I read a word, wrote a word, or saw a number . . . backward, with extra letters, replaced by another word, etc. . . . . was something more than just an inconvenience! It was a form of dyslexia.

I'm very lucky. I have no issues with reading speed, comprehension, or fluency. But letter reversal, mirror writing, and adding or omitting letters has always been a part of my reading and writing challenges. In elementary school, I used to be terrified of reading out loud. Oh, how things have changed!

My dyslexia makes for some funny moments when I am teaching (my day job is as an English professor). I might be jabbering away at the board only to notice I have written whole words backward. I usually warn my students ahead of time that I have "issues." By the end of the semester, they usually realize dyslexia is the least of my problems. You should see what happens when my dyslexia kicks in and I am also trying to write a word in French using my rudimentary French language skills . . .edrem, total edrem!

Kate Winslet 37th birthday "Draw Me Like One Of Your French Girls" Internet meme Snape gif

When I am working on my novels, the problem seems exacerbated. If I am tired, focusing too hard on plot (which I just wrote as blot then had to correct it), I make a lot of mistakes.  I have a husband, two kids under the age of 4, a full time job, several writing projects in the air, and then there are the household chores:



So, yeah, I'm always tired . . . so I am always making writing mistakes!

I have a team of very talented people around me who help edit my work. Many times, when they note an error in a manuscript, I can't see it. Sometimes I stare at the screen trying to see what's wrong, but my brain just will not see the problem. I guess that I have written the wrong word or something is misspelled, but I can't make my brain see it! Grr! I am deeply indebted to all the beta readers and editors who have worked on my manuscripts because without them, I simply can't see the drows!

 
Check out the Kickstarter for Rise of the Drow!

But I don't let this issue bother me. Most of the time, it forces me to focus harder and slow down when I write. Hopefully the extra few minutes I take when I think over a sentence are worth it for the reader . . . wait! rather than reader, I wrote dreamer and had to correct it. Dreamer sounds better. Always write for the dreamer.

Stop back next Wednesday for further dispatches on writing, me, and all things Hamletville!

SteamU lectures start this Friday! Don't miss your first class!


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