Monday, September 8, 2008

Dyslexic Authors, un.... ah, well, you've heard the joke

The British Dyslexia Association says that “Dyslexia is best described as a combination of abilities and difficulties which affect the learning process in one or more of reading, spelling, writing and sometimes numeracy/language (skills).”

So, if you can’t see “right” and you can’t write “right”, then there’s no sense in trying to be a writer. Right?

Wrong. As anyone with a disability knows there are ways to do what you want to, if you’re willing to do a little examination and use creativity and currently available resources.

Like Terry Goodkind, Author of the Sword of Truth fantasy series.

Goodkind learned early in his life that he suffered from dyslexia, a cause of constant frustration while he was in high school.

Question: You have alluded to the fact that you have dyslexia. I have attention deficit disorder. Where would you come from in terms of professional writing, coming from having a learning difference, or disability, or whatever you want to call it? Presently I'm in a writer's group here.

Answer: This is the way I describe dyslexia: dyslexia is about as troublesome as the fact that I was supposed to have three arms, but I don't, and so I have to make do with two.

It's a matter of perception. I didn't go through life going "Oh, I have dyslexia, and I have to overcome it."

Read the rest of the interview by clicking Here.

Here are a few tips to remember:

1. Make an outline. Use a tape recorder, pen and ink, or just memorize it, but get an idea of what you are doing and where you are going.

2. Get feedback at every step of the writing process.

3. Try changing the font regularly in the text, then reading it again.

4. Read it out loud.

5. Change the lighting and the color of your font or background. Experiment.

6. Study grammar and spelling. Read, read, read.

7. When you send it in, insist on a fresh editing job by the publisher. Be sure to find an editor who will be a second set of eyes for you. Don’t rely on your word processor.

by Charlotte Phillips for additional e-Tools.

And, don’t give up. I’m sure you’ve heard it before; that many famous authors are/were dyslexic, from W. B. Yeats to Agatha Christie.

To read more about dyslexia, click Here.


Susie Hawes, disabled mom and author, has edited two anthologies and reads for Whispering Spirits Digital Magazine.

Her best-selling series, The Dragon Thing To Do, has been picked up by Daverana Enterprises.


  1. Very good post. Thanks so much. I, too, have just a bit of dyslexia that seriously affects my ability to spell correctly. For example I am always spelling "their" "thier" even though I know it is wrong. Unless spellcheck catches it, which it doesn't in Dreamweaver, I often post a story on with the word spelled incorrectly. Thank goodness I have readers who are quick to point that out to me. :-)

  2. The brain works in mysterious ways. It's always good when you can outsmart it!

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Great post! Proves when you want to do something, there is a way to make it happen! I spent a number of years working with adults with mental disabilities--what an inspiration!

    The key? The want to!! Syl

  4. I have a curious middle-aged issue I'm dealing with right now. When I type, my brain is thinking of a certain word, but my fingers type a similar-sounding word. I usually catch it when I proof, but the crossed-wires kind of bother me. Hope it's not early-onset Alzheimers! That issue could probably result in a completely new post about the special proofreading needs of the elderly.

    Good essay, Susie.


  5. I do the same thing, Dani, though I'm really a pretty good speller.
    It must be old age!

    Morgan Mandel

  6. Great post - attitude is everything. A good attitude and determination can almost alwasy get you where you want to go.

    Thanks for sharing. Your story will inspire others.

  7. Dani, sounds more like typing faster than the brain is processing.

    Good tips Susie. Actually, good tips for anyone, not just those with dyslexia.

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  9. These are excellent tips for anyone, dyslexic or not.

    Dani, I have a similar problem to yours but the wrong words I type aren't necessarily even similar sounding. There's a strong history of Alzheimer's in my family so, of course, I wonder about it. Hope it's just old age. :-)


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.