There is lots of writing advice out there, but there are two things I can’t entirely agree with that some authors swear by.
The first is to drink gallons of coffee because writers need lots of the stuff. I’m not too fond of coffee, are you? But I am partial to a bar of coffee-centred chocolate or coffee-flavoured cake. Does that count?
What if you don’t read books?
The second thing is that to be a good writer; you must read books.
The problem with that piece of advice is that picking up a book often terrifies me.
As somebody with dyslexia, reading books is something I struggle with.
I cannot finish reading 90% of the books I pick up because I can’t make any sense of them. But it’s not usually the author’s fault, but the fault of how my brain works when reading words on a page.
My heart sinks when I read the advice that you must read lots of books to be a good writer. I start doubting that I’m not a good writer because I don’t read enough books.
Picking up a book is a frightening experience because my brain tells me I will fail to reach the end.
But even though I dislike drinking coffee and don’t read many books, I still love to write!
They say practice makes perfect.
It’s one of the reasons I participate in the Carrot Ranch 99-word flash fiction challenge every week. People tell me that my writing and flash fiction has improved a lot. And, yes, I can see the improvements.
However, if I rephrase ‘to be a good writer, you must read books,’ to ‘to be a good writer you must watch lots of television,‘ would you look at me oddly?
You see, there are many ways I get ideas for writing fiction and improving my writing, and reading books hardly features.
I watch much more television than I do reading books.
Because of my dyslexia, I find watching television, a movie at the cinema, or a show at the theatre much easier. I can sometimes lose the plot, but I often put that down to a poor script or lousy acting.
I have much more success improving my writing from the screen or stage than from a book page.
However, just because I find reading books problematic doesn’t mean I find other stuff hard to read.
How the world of blogging helps.
When I first discovered the world of blogging, I amazed myself how easy it was to read many blog posts.
I can easily read most blog posts providing the quality of writing is good and does not show any signs of being rushed. I can spot a rushly-written blog post from miles away.
One downside for me because of being dyslexic is that I find blog posts written in accents hard to read. Even the simplest of words prove difficult as my brain tries to determine what the characters are saying.
However, I have no problem if I’m watching a movie or television show where the characters speak in a particular accent. This dyslexia can be a funny business, sometimes.
One last writing tip that may help.
I also get many ideas for stories and blog posts when ‘people-watching’ and listening in on conversations that I and the entire world can not miss because of how they’re being conducted.
My ears work more than my eyes to help me overcome my problem with dyslexia.
I’ve had some success listening to audiobooks, but my eyes need to watch something while listening, so I often give up on them too.
So don’t feel weird or out of touch when other authors and writers recommend that you must read many books to become a good writer and author. It isn’t true for all of us, especially those with problems with words and letters playing tricks on them.
As for drinking gallons of coffee, I’ll have a couple of slices of that coffee and walnut cake rather than a mug of coffee, please.
Are you somebody who is dyslexic but who loves to write? Do you have difficulty reading books? What tips do you use for improving your writing?
Copyright © 2022 Hugh W. Roberts – All rights reserved.
About the Author
Hugh W. Roberts lives in Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.
Hugh gets his inspiration for writing from various avenues, including writing prompts, photos, eavesdropping, and walking his dogs. Although he was born in Wales, he has lived in various parts of the United Kingdom, including London, where he lived and worked for 27 years.
Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia but, after discovering blogging, decided not to allow the condition to stop his passion for writing. Since creating his blog ‘Hugh’s Views & News’ in February 2014, he has built up a strong following and now writes every day. Always keen to promote other bloggers, authors and writers, Hugh enjoys the interaction blogging brings and has built up a group of online friends.
His short stories have become well known for the unexpected twists they contain. One of the best compliments a reader can give Hugh is, “I never saw that ending coming.”
Having published his first book of short stories, Glimpses, in December 2016, his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses, was released in March 2019.
A keen photographer, he also enjoys cycling, walking, reading, watching television, and relaxing with a glass of red wine and sweet popcorn.
Hugh shares his life with John, his civil partner, and Toby and Austin, their Cardigan Welsh Corgis.