Writing with dyslexia how do you do it ? Is a question I am often asked?
The question I would love to ask is writing without dyslexia, what does that look like?
It's hard to know what it's like to be something that you have always been and compare it with something that you are not. When my educational psychologist met me at age 40 she was astonished at what I had achieved professionally and academically without a diagnosis.
What was clear from my assessment was that I had a superior knowledge of words and a huge vocabulary.
I had an impressive recall for general knowledge and she would have me on her quiz team any day of the week.
So where are my do my difficulties lie and how does that effect me as a writer.
Poor working memory. When learning new information, it takes a while to learn it, if this skill is not repeated over and over again. It is hard to recall it. Poor working memory affects you when you are multitasking, the most obvious is when you taking on a complex task and you forget the basics. For me this was eveident in lessons...the teacher would explain something (Maths). I would undertand it, but as soon as I did it myself I was lost. Being intrupted and loosing your thread is common now. So I require a room alone to write, with music on.
Poor processing skills means that I read and write at a slower rate than anyone else. So to write a letter will take me double or three times longer than anyone else. I can do the work I just need time.
Sequencing disorder. I have problems with remember orders of events, this effects flow of speech, grammar and the construction of sentences. This is my greatest challenge and where the over, over, over editing can take place. My sentence structure at times can be quite strange and often quite French. It is this area I have needed the most support from proof readers and editors to help unravel my ramblings.
CREATVITY and dyslexia
The huge advantage I believe dyslexic writer have is creativity. I have an incredible pictorial memory for detail. I can picture places, people, conversations, smells and feelings. Stories / scenarios can be triggered by images and music. I often use music to listen to whilst writing. I will pick a mood and find a genre to match. That is when the magic really happens for me and before my very eyes the words are forming on the page.
I now have no hang ups about my dyslexia as I see it as a massive advantage to my creativity. I now enlist the help of non-dyslexics to knock off the edges of my work to make it accessible to all readers.
I hope that I can inspire other dyslexics to put pen to paper.