Confessions of a dyslexic technical writer, Part 2

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I wrote a post entitled Confessions of a dyslexic technical writer about how I use my dyslexia as an advantage as a writer. The post still draws some feedback from other adult dyslexics.

Here are some other confessions I’d add to the post if I wrote it today:

Meetings aren’t work

I’m fortunate at this point in my career I still find joy in a blinking cursor and a blank page. It’s where work happens for me at least. I’m not a big fan of unnecessary meetings. They prevent me from writing. Slow deliberations play havoc with my composing process.

During my career, I’ve had co-workers who always wanted to have meetings.  Otherwise, they’d have to do their job. Such co-workers only run the clock. They keep projects idling for reasons such as hiding their lack of knowledge, death by PowerPoint, and similar reasons.  People who only want to sit through meetings drive me nuts. While I don’t disagree with processes. I disagree with people who hide behind processes for the sake of process. Execution matters.

Every byline I get is a privilege, not an entitlement

I had a hard time in college because of my dyslexia. It was one of the more frustrating periods of my entire life. The only bright spot for me was writing. Academically, I was better at writing papers than I was at taking tests. Even now, I treat every byline I get as a privilege. In some ways, I still consider every byline an accomplishment because bylines take me back to my time in college learning how to write. 

Some writing work I’m most proud of during my career are the articles I’ve published. I went from being a passive observer of technology to publishing my perspectives on the subject and the industry. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I’m at without some editors I’ve worked for along the way.

Nonlinear thinking is my jam

One reason I’ve gravitated to individual contributor roles as a writer is that I’m a non-linear thinker. I find this one of the biggest boosts I get as a writer from dyslexia. I find when I work with programmers, engineers, and solutions architects they are more open to my way of thinking. I try to 

Over complicating things is just plain wrong

Making work more complicated than it has to be is plain wrong. Dyslexia has taught me life lessons about the need for simplicity and being clear and concise in my communications. It frustrates me to no end hearing people hide behind complexity to make themselves appear or sound smarter. After years of interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) for documentation projects and executives for articles, I can tell when somebody knows their subject.

My plain-spoken style gets me in trouble sometimes. I see it as one of my strengths the older I get.

Checklists give me structure 

I had an epiphany years ago about using checklists to improve my writing. It was a time I felt I could have been doing better dealing with the multiple editorial standards I had to follow., I got the idea from a Michael Hyatt book.

So today, I use Todoist where I keep writing and editing checklists for the article and blog post types I write for business and pleasure.

Dyslexia = strength

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dyslexia after reading Dona Sarkar’s story and learning about Made by Dyslexia. Dyslexia has been a strength for me as a writer. However, I’ve kept it as a veritable secret except for some of my closest friends and colleagues. I stopped that recently. Dyslexia taught me resilience, perseverance, focus, and passion for my work. It’s my superpower!

Are you dyslexic? How does it power your work?