Thursday, December 15, 2011

Writing with Dyslexia

My mother used to tease me and say I didn’t know my right from my left. She was partially correct. And unfortunately, I didn’t find out why until I became an adult.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know my right from my left; it was that my brain couldn’t process which was which unless I looked at my hands and remembered which hand I wrote with. Thank God I’m not ambidextrous!

Typing is also very difficult for me, even though I took typing classes and I know where the keys are. But when I type, my mind puts the letters in the wrong order. For example: instead of typing “the” for the, it comes out “hte” nearly every time, but when I look at it, it seems normal to me. Some days, it seems I spend more time with my spell check and the backspace key, than I do getting the book down on the page. If not for spell check I wouldn’t get very far…but I’ve discovered a flaw in the spell/grammar check recently when I posted my new Amish Romance, Jacob’s Daughter. An acquaintance on FB informed me after reading the book that there were two separate spots where I used the word “trails”, when I meant for it to say “trials”. Because “trails” is a recognized word, my spell check did not pick it up! I have since then fixed the error, despite the fact that several hundred copies had already been sold containing the error…to those who have that version…I apologize heartily.
How can I write like this, you ask? Well since I type so fast, and I cheat and put the spell-check on automatic, I can get a major portion of my writing done fairly quickly despite my dyslexic fingers—or is it all in my head? As a matter of fact, it has to do with vision, and how our minds interpret words, and for some, numbers too. I, unfortunately have trouble with numbers as well. So as a defense mechanism, I would memorize numbers, such as phone numbers, locker combinations (yes, I still remember my phone number that we had when I was a kid, and my locker combination from school). Nowadays, it’s addresses, license plate numbers, etc. But ask me to count cards to play poker, and that’s something I can’t do!

Being a writer, I have tons of books in my head—memorized—getting them onto the computer is the difficult part. Some days, I find myself spelling the words out loud as I type to ensure I’m getting the words down correctly. That method doesn’t work when I’m tired.

Since writing is my passion, I thank God for the technology that we have today that allows me to pursue my dream. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to write with dyslexia, but with persistence and dedication to mastering the skill, I’ve discovered a whole new way to use my talents for good instead of mischief—through the written word. 

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