I read avidly when I was young and was inspired by classics like Moby Dick, The Old Man and the Sea, and Domby & Son. However, my English teacher wasn’t very impressed by my early attempts at writing. He’d tell me I wasn’t checking my spelling and grammar properly, labelling me as ‘lazy’. The problem was, when I reviewed my work, I couldn’t see the errors.
Being labelled as an unachiever was disheartening. I just wanted to be the same as the other kids in my class but I wasn’t. When I learned I had dyslexia, everything clicked. Dyslexia can give a creative advantage due to the tendency to ‘think differently’ but it causes problems with reading, writing and spelling.
Having always wanted to write great stories of my own, I was encouraged to discover that there are at least 25 famous authors with learning difficulties. For example:
F. Scott Fitzgerald, well known for writing The Great Gatsby, had dyslexia. He was kicked out of school at the age of 12 for not focusing or finishing his work and had a hard time spelling.
Agatha Christie, the bestselling mystery author, had a learning disability, believed to be dysgraphia. She could not spell or remember numbers but this did not hold her back.
When a story calls
I did not immediately decide to write seriously. Instead, I worked my way through a variety of jobs. After a brief stint as a pizza chef followed by picking sprouts on a farm, I headed off with a bunch of mates to Germany where we got jobs as labourers on a building site. My skills as an engineer were eventually recognised and I had the opportunity to travel around the world.
But a story was chasing me.
Stories that are meant to be written cannot be left behind.
My book, Illicit Deception, has been inside my head for over thirty years. I often pondered over ideas during my various jobs and, upon returning home and setting up an antique rug business, I knew I had to write it. My confidence had been knocked by my experiences at school but no one, not even the harshest of teachers, could take away my imagination.
I’m proud to have published my book and show that, with imagination, anyone can do it.
Inspiring imagination young
It’s important to encourage writers, especially young ones, whatever their challenges.
Reading with a child is such a gift. It will inspire them to become interested in stories, imaginative language and vocabulary. Sharing ideas that are in books provides an opportunity to discuss key ideas and help children embrace language too.
Teachers also have an important role, encouraging children to believe in their imagination. There are so many resources available these days to support. For example, through a series of bright colours and shapes, The Dyslexia Mind Map demonstrates how dyslexia can affect reading, spelling and motor control. There are also interactive animations showing the positive side of thinking differently.
Social media has proved valuable for promoting the resources and events available while spreading the word that there is help for empowering people to reach their full potential.
If something has affected your confidence to write, don’t let it stop you.
Your imagination is a gift. Just like me, if you are born to write, go for it!
Featured Book: Illicit Deception by Jack Lench
A picturesque fishing village on the South Devon coast, the cursed royal French blue diamond necklace once worn by Marie Antoinette of France and a dangerous terrorist organisation who will stop at nothing to achieve their objective. In his thrilling debut novel, Illicit Deception, Jack Lench draws readers into a world of betrayal, deception and conspiracy theories. Is anyone really who they say they are? Don’t trust people who lie to you and don’t lie to people who trust you!
About Jack Lench
Jack Lench was born in Suffolk. His writing started in the form of postcards and letters to his father while he was working in far out, far away places around the world. Over the years, he kept notes on storylines and plots, the inspiration for which came from the people he met and an interest in history, politics and places.