Tag Archives: writing

How I Got into Writing…

PencilPrior to blogging saying I didn’t enjoy or like writing was an understatement. Writing was something I hated and would do anything to avoid.

Growing up I never enjoyed writing and would do anything to get out of writing assignments in school. I have dyslexia and dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is a form of dyslexia that affects fine motors skills and the ability to write legibly. It is the actual process of transmitting ideas to paper that makes writing so painful. Thanks to several elementary school teachers that ignored my learning disability and punished me for poor handwriting by the time I reached middle school I hated both school and writing.

In school I usually had read all the required books for English classes by October but my book reports were often late. Simply because I hated the process of putting thoughts on paper. I actually preferred an oral book report. My senior English teacher tried to convince be I was a good writer but I just couldn’t believe her.

In 2006, I was invited to become the editor of for an education site and discovered I actually enjoyed writing. Oh, I also discovered that I wasn’t a bad writer either.

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Maybe I Should Write a Book

Writing a book is something I have often thought about.  I used to come up with ideas for a book but did nothing about it because I thought I couldn’t write.

I’ve actually considered writing two books. One about my experiences/lessons learned from working in retail. The other book would be from my experience as a teacher.

After I discovered that I enjoyed writing I have seriously considered writing a book. I’m just leery of self-published companies.  Working in the bookstore I dealt with several people who had self-published books. Most made enough to cover the expenses of publishing the book.  So for now I’m will stick with blogging.

Dysgraphia Explained

Note: I originally wrote this for another blog. However, it is important part of my story.

Dysgraphia is related to dyslexia. Dysgraphia affects fine motor skills and ability to write legibly. Like dyslexia it is often misunderstood. Many times a child with dyslexia may do very well in school except for writing legibly therefore it is assumed that he/she writes too quickly, is lazy, careless or does not care. To further complicate the matter dysgraphia is more than just messy or illegible handwriting.

So what is dysgraphia? According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities.” (1)

The most notable characteristic of dysgraphia is illegible or poor handwriting. Inconsistency with handwriting is a part of dysgraphia. Writing may contain a mixture of print and script, upper and lower case letters, varying sizes, shapes and slant of letters. Inconsistent spacing of words, letters and margins are also common. Punctuation, spelling and syntax errors are common traits of dysgraphia. Holding the pen incorrectly such as too close to the page or holding thumb over two fingers and writing from the wrist are also signs of dysgraphia. For someone with dysgraphia the process of writing letters is a consuming task that leads to omitted letters or words. The speed of writing is also very slow. (2) There is a large gap between written communication and ideas expressed orally. (3)

Unlike dyslexia, dysgraphia directly affect the ability for written expression. Dyslexia is a language disorder while dysgraphia affects motor skills. Dysgraphia affects the process of written expression. Many children with dysgraphia are able to create and wonderful stories but the process of physically writing is so difficult and painful that written expression is hindered. Like dyslexia, dysgraphia affects all areas of the child’s academic career. Slow or illegible handwriting can make completing even the simplest assignment a daunting task.

The stress and emotional issues that dysgraphia can cause for children should also be considered. (4) Children with dysgraphia are often very bright and have good verbal skills. It is very frustrating to have ideas or thoughts trapped inside one’s head and being unable to express them fluently. Being asked to re-copy work and not be able to produce quality work causes frustration. It is very disconcerting for a child to put forth his or her best effort and have it rejected and be labeled slow or lazy.

I am severely dysgraphic and for most of my life viewed myself as very poor writer. Handwriting lessons in school were pure torture. Most of my teachers from 4th grade through sixth grades believed that perfect penmanship was more important than the content. Handwriting papers with more than 3-5 errors were required to be redone. My 6th grade teacher may have done more to inhibit my abilities as a writer than any other teacher. She had a rule that any paper with more than 3 cross-outs or errors was not acceptable and would often be ripped up in front of the class and trashed. She seemed to delight in destroying my papers in front of the class. Her rationale for this was that if I had to redo enough papers I would learn to be neat. According to this teacher I would never be successful unless I learned to write neatly. What I learned was that I hated writing and would do as little of it as possible. For me a computer is the great equalizer. My keyboarding and computer skills are well above average. I am able to create wonderful looking documents with little stress. Using a computer allows me to focus on the content of what I am saying without worrying about legibility or spelling.

Notes:
1. National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “NINDS Dysgraphia Information Page” [http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dysgraphia/dysgraphia.htm].

2. Ed Keller, webmaster. “Dysgraphia” [http://www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/dysgraphia.html]

3. National Center for Learning Disabilities. “Dysgraphia” [http://www.ncld.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=468]

4. International Dyslexia Association. “Just the Facts … Dysgraphia” [http://www.interdys.org/fact%20sheets/Dysgraphia%20FS%20N.pdf]

I’m Posting Every Week in 2011!

Silly Pencil DudeI’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once at least once a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

DH

End of Year Reflection

This is my last post for 2010. Gee, seems like the year has just started. I guess this is the point where I’m supposed to write some sort of illuminating treatise full of great wisdom. It  I’m all out of witty sayings and wisdom right now. I do have a few observations for the year.

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions for many reasons. Goal setting is more my style. I guess they might be the same thing. For 2010, I decided to borrow an idea from a friend of selecting a theme for the year.  My theme was to Make a Difference.  I have tried to write more about causes  and other ways to make a difference. Spent some time this week redoing the Make a Difference Section.

Life doesn’t always go the way we plan. Sometimes even the unexpected bumps in life can turn out to unexpected blessings. I just have to be willing to trust God and look for the blessings.

One of those unexpected things this year is an unplanned move to problems with our condo.   I absolutely hate moving.  The process of moving can be a difficult and at times an insurmountable task. During the moving process I will eventually reach a point where I just want to toss everything or just leave. It was during the packing and unpacking stage that I realized there were some important lessons that can be learned from moving.  First, God is in the business of fresh starts and is willing to forgive us when we make a mess of things. This doesn’t mean there are no consequences from past actions. Second, sometimes you just have to get rid of the junk in our lives. Finally, a change of location can also change ones outlook and perspective.

It is so easy to forget that I was created by God, in his image and to have fellowship with him. Somehow I get my priorities messed up  and focus on my needs, wants and goals.

Real faith isn’t just for Sundays. What good is faith that does not affect ones daily life? Situations that challenge ones faith can also cause it to grow.  It is important to move from just reading about matters of faith and actually practice what one  believes.

People are more important than having nice things. Do not sacrifice friendships or other relationship to gain more things. Seize the little moments to make memories; you never know how many more you will get.

Those are just a few of my observations from 2010.