Being a dyslexic writer is beautifully ironic and frustrating thing. Being a dyslexic writer connected to the writing community is even more so.
As I've not been able to turn out much content for this month, I figured doing a post on my experiences (because no dyslexic is exactly alike) with dyslexia as a writer would be interesting.
So, here it is!
Using the wrong word variation
They're/their/there, are/our, one/won, through/threw, whose/who's, you're/your, leak/leek, an/a, etc. A lot of these I have been able to keep straight because I realized I pronounce them differently, like...
"you're" is pronounced almost like "you-or" while "your" is pronounced more like "ye-or".
"Are" is, of course, pronounced with a strong R sound while "our" has a more prominent "U" sound.
"Through" has a almost roll to it, and it's got a longer sound, while "threw" is short and sharp.
Even still, getting these words mixed up is pretty easy for me despite knowing the differences. It's something I have to keep an eye out for when editing and writing.
Using the wrong word all together
I don't know how, but I get very very different words mixed up. I just got "specifically" and "personally" mixed up in the "Frustrations with this" section, and that's just the most recent example. There's quite a few words that I do this with, including "and" and "in" and "was" and "ways".
Speaking and typing with switched up sentences
I actually verbally speak with the words in my sentences all mixed up. Thinking of an example for this, or for anything on this list, really, is hard for me because if I'm thinking about it I'm not as likely to mess it up, so I don't usually notice when I do mix a sentence up verbally.
However, when writing the next section, "phonetic spelling", I caught myself doing it. The sentence that I wrote was...
"There's some words that I cannot seem to get straight ever with spelling".
I put the "ever" further in the sentence than I should've, if I was going to include it at all (which I likely shouldn't have as it was a needless addition). In addition to that, I added a needless context tag at the end ("with spelling").
As seen above, I sometimes catch these things when writing, but not always.
What's funny to me is that often times when I do catch it, I find that it isn't technically grammatically incorrect, but is instead breaking one of the unspoken guidelines of the English language.
This is something I think most dyslexics rely on. Too bad the English language makes no sense and phonetic spelling is seldom ever right.
There's some words that I can't seem to get straight. When I can't nail the spelling, I type it out phonetically or to the best of my ability and come back to fix it later. When I'm talking online in non-professional settings, I've gotten into the habit of spelling confusing words phonetically because google often times cannot comprehend my poor attempts at spelling the world correctly.
Skipping letters or moving them when writing
I've found that when I write, I often leave out words and/or letter. Like this:
"I've fund that I write, I often leave out words and/or letters."
Or I add a letter to the wrong word. An example would be...
"I add a letter to the wron gan word."
It's like I get so ahead of the writing that I add the last letter to another word. And this is while writing by hand as well as typing, so I know it isn't a matter of hitting a key or the space bar at the same time as another key.
I often combine words into one. A few examples of that would be "eachother", "afterall", and "aton". Which makes my word count smaller in addition to annoying me whenever I see the little red squiggly line (especially because "eachother" and "afterall" look like nice words).
Slow reading comprehension and misunderstandings
It is super easy for me to misunderstand a sentence, which is another thing that's common among dyslexics. Combine that with the online world, and... well, let's just say that it's like combining sardines and ice cream. Not good.
This also adds to poor, or slow, reading comprehension. When I read books especially, I often times have to stop and go back and reread something a few times before I understand it. If I still don't understand it, I tend to just move on. If it's a book that I really like and I reread it, I might end up straightening that out, but generally if I don't get it the first twenty times, I'm not going to get it the twenty-first.
This is especially a pain in the rear-end when I'm alpha reading, beta reading, or editing, because then I have to make myself understand.
And if I still don't understand a big part, I'll reach out to the author and let them know (which is something you do with all those things already).
If I'm just failing to understand a single line or so and its punctuation while editing, I'll often send the line to a family member to get their opinion on the flow of the sentence.
(Note that if you intend on doing this when editing for another person, do not include anything that could be giving away a part of the story. That includes unique names and terms. If the sentence contains something like that, redact it before sending it to a family member or just be 100% honest with the author and tell them you're at a loss. Better to be an honest dyslexic than a dishonest spoiler.)
Reading out loud
My goodness is this one hard.
Since I was maybe eleven, I've enjoyed reading my sister's stories out loud to her while she works on other things. But boy is it a struggle.
I also enjoy reading books out loud to my little sister (though she enjoys it far less than I do), and it again is difficult.
But those are minor things that only a select few people have to deal with.
Now, however, I'm pursuing being an audio-book narrator, and it's been pretty difficult when you combine poor comprehension, the struggle of reading out loud, a weaker memory, and voice acting all together. My process is longer than it is for most narrators' for this reason.
Frustrations with this
I didn't learn to read or write fluently until I was a bit older than most kids, though not for a lack of trying.
I'm a lot better than I was then, or even than I was a couple of years ago (fluently writing has been a big help with that).
But when I do mess up a word, especially when I'm being serious or I'm upset about something, and I see I've messed up, it can be really frustrating because I'm a writer, I know the difference, I know this is wrong, so why do I keep messing up?
It's even more frustrating and discouraging when someone corrects me. It's an easy thing for me to shrug off or make fun of myself with on the surface, but for some reason it's something I've always taken personally despite that, which I am at fault for.
Another frustration is that, like I said, my reading comprehension isn't the best. Which is really frustrating when I am editing or reading on a deadline (as well as with tests; I absolutely loathe the ACT test for the reading comprehension portion of the test).
There's also the frustration of seeing a mistake and fixing it, only to have the "fixed" version bring on new problems that I don't notice until after I've finished something (this happens in my blog posts a lot).
In addition to these things, the struggles of dyslexia isn't just with words and numbers; dyslexia affects various forms of every-day things. Lots of dyslexics struggle with reading clocks, processing what sentences that they hear, and apparently (according to online sources) difficulty understanding idioms and being able to summarize a story.
All of these things are things that I struggle with. I couldn't tell you exactly where I fall on the spectrum of severity with dyslexia, but I'd guess it's around moderate. Enough to be annoying and make things a little more difficult, but not enough to seriously hinder me from anything.
For my fellow dyslexics
And now, I have something to say to my fellow dyslexics.
Don't let dyslexia stop you.
Lots of people struggle with learning. Lots of people misspell. Lots of people misunderstand. Lots of people are poorly worded. Lots of people don't process things easily.
I know it's frustrating to have to accept that this is who you are and that you can't change it. But what's more frustrating is trying to change it anyways and then seeing yourself continue to make mistakes.
I'm not saying don't proof read, or don't try to improve, because you absolutely should and you absolutely can.
I am saying don't let dyslexia be what stops you from writing. Or, if you're not a writer and somehow found this post, don't let dyslexia be what stops you from doing anything. Pursuing an academic career, graduating school, writing, reading, blogging, making music, speaking, listening, learning, reading out loud.
These are all things that you, as something with dyslexia, may struggle with, and goodness knows there's a million others out there. However, they are just a struggle. They are just challenges. They are just hurdles in the road that is your life.
But you know what? You've got this. Dyslexia doesn't dictate you. Dyslexia can't stop you from doing these things; it can annoy you to no end and discourage you, but only you can decide to stop doing something.
So no matter how embarrassed you get over a mistake, no matter how many times someone corrects you, no matter how many times you have to say "what?" when in a conversation, no matter how hard math is, no matter how hard writing is, no matter how frustrating, discouraging, confusing, and annoying the various things that come with dyslexia can be, don't give up.
Your game difficulty has just been set a bit harder than someone else's, and that's okay. You'll learn, you'll improve, you'll continue to struggle, and you'll accomplish things anyways.
Write, read, etc. on, friends.
~ 𝓔𝓭𝓷𝓪 𝓟𝓮𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓷
P.S. Coincidentally, when I was first drafting this post, Merphy Napier posted a video about reading with dyslexia. You should check it out, here