On Invisible Disabilities

Readers prefer to find writers that can produce multiple works, things that they will enjoy and know that they can trust because they have enjoyed previous things by that author. The current market does not favor a slow and careful writer.

In my case is not so much that I was careful, but I was extremely slow… up until now. I was a dyslexic typist, literally switching around the letters inside of words, including mis-typing my own name and words I knew how to spell. The spaces would be in the wrong places, often inside of words instead of after them. I would have to go back and fix every single sentence checking every single word. I cannot tell you how disruptive this was to me trying to write, because it would interfere with the flow of my thoughts. But I just thought I was a lousy typist; my dyslexia was only recently diagnosed.

Looking back it’s a miracle that I was able to write anything at all: a testament to my dogged determination and harder work than those without dyslexia can possibly understand. (Writing Confessions had the advantage that I knew all of the stories that were going into the book by heart, and only had to write them down, and that meant that my constant typos did not disrupt my thought process.)

So when someone blithely told me, meaning nothing but good, that they were “glad I’d finally gotten back to writing,” I just wanted to scream. I had never stopped writing or trying to write, okay?

Because of my typing dyslexia, for me, writing has been like trying to walk when others could run: walking on twisted, broken, badly-reset leg bones that made me stumble and fall. I crawled when they flew but I never stopped trying. Never.

So this past couple of weeks where Dragon dictation software gave me wings has been an amazing experience for me. It’s been the writing equivalent of my having been a paraplegic and suddenly my spine fused and I could walk. Luckily I’ve kept up the writing exercises so that my writing muscles had not atrophied, as it were.

Dyslexia is one of those invisible disabilities that no one quite understands unless they have it. A word to the wise: if you know someone who has an invisible disability (depression or other mental illnesses, posttraumatic stress syndrome, Crohn’s disease, lupus, etc.) please understand that they are already probably already working as hard as they can, perhaps even harder than you can possibly imagine, because whatever results you see took much more work against the disability than you will ever know. It’s really not polite — in fact it’s incredibly hurtful — to tell them that up until they took the medicine, found the software that helps, found the medicine that helped… Up until that point they hadn’t really been trying. (The hell they hadn’t!)

I’m trying to be polite here. What I really want to do is scream and rant and yell. Because when this…person…handed me what they thought was a compliment, they actually negated years and years of excruciatingly hard work on my part. I’m not just angry as about it. I am extremely hurt.

But the way I’m going to handle my anger and pain is to just become prolific as a writer. Because, now, finally I can. And success is the best revenge.

WTES progress

Up until last week I despaired of how long it was taking me to get Writing the Entertaining Story written. Thanks to my new Dragon software I broke 20,000 words yesterday. Over 6000 of those words were in the last six days.

Dragon Software success!

In the past week I’ve started using a software package: Dragon SpeakingNaturally version 13. I bought it with high quality microphone headset and a book on how to use the program: Scott Baker’s How to Train Your Dragon.

It’s been revolutionary for me. In the past week I’ve written 6000 words when I was lucky to get 600 to 800 words, if any.

You see, there is a type of dyslexia that makes it very hard for you to type properly. I can read faster than most people I know incredibly high comprehension rates, and I can keep an entire novel in my head at the same time (several novels in a series, in fact) but the type of dyslexia that I have makes it so that there might be as many as 3 to 7 typos in a single sentence. In fact, it makes it difficult to even type my name.

Enter the Dragon! With this dictation software, which had almost no learning curve, I’m able to easily do 1000 words a day. In fact, I have to be careful, or I’ll write all day and neglect all of my other duties.

All of the books, stories, novels, etc. that has been locked inside me cannot come out as fast as I can set it on the page. I cannot tell you how liberating this is been. Expect great things for me in the future

To Sub, or not to Sub?

I’ve happily published many of my own books. After all, since I am running Abyss & Apex I’m already a publisher. And once I got myself a good team–cover artist(s), interior book designer, cover designer, and such–it was a fairly easy process.

But now, the next book I am coming out with may need an outside publisher. At least, that’s what my friends keep telling me. Writing the Entertaining Story will probably be more popular and useful than anything I’ve written thus far, and my writer-friends are unanimous in suggesting that I publish it through a traditional publisher, or at least a small press.

So, I’m considering not going Indie on this one. It would mean a delay in getting the material out, but gain it wider distribution. Ah well, the question is moot until I finish it, but thanks to my new Dragon software speeding me up I have written 3,500 words on it in the last three days. At this rate, I will have to decide soon.

In the running…

It seems I am a finalist for that slot for that “Space Camp for senior women who wanted to be astronauts” documentary. And it seems that my having such an unconventional job, and writing about it, was a deciding factor.

How about that?

It’s time for a Dragon.

Not this kind;

THIS kind.

I’ve just purchased Dragon Home software, as well as a compatible headset and a how-to book. My confidence in voice-to-text software is now very high after a year of speaking my text messages into my phone. Hopefully, this will allow me to write much more quickly. I am a dyslexic typist and constantly lose my train of thought when writing because there are as many as three to seven typos per sentence that I need to go back and fix due to switching the characters, sometimes several times in one long word.

Also, the price of the has come WAY down. Moore’s Law, dontcha know.

So I will keep you all posted on how this experiment goes, but some of my writer buddies say it’s been an enormous productivity booster for them. I hope to have similar results.