HomedyslexiaPerfection is Highly Overrated

Something that I see a lot of people stumbling on when they attempt to do something new is giving in to the frustration of not doing it perfectly the first few times around. As someone with dyslexia, I know exactly how that feels, but as a writer, I also know that’s one stumbling block that needs to be shoved out of the way early on.

Spelling: An Example
I know that many students with dyslexia and other learning problems today are exempt from spelling tests. However, when I was in elementary school, I was still required to take them.

To be fair, a lot less was known about the disorder then than it is now, and the remediation mostly involved phonics, plus more time dedicated to picking up basic skills.

This is a draft of an entry from my craft blog on Sodalite. The
yellow highlights misspellings. The final product is here,
if you’re curious.

Anyway, back then, I was lucky to get one or two words out of ten correct. It was just failure, after failure, after failure, after failure. Seeing all that red on my hard work really did a number on my morale.

Somehow, I got past those grades. More recently, I’ve just stopped caring. Why freak out about getting a word right the first time when you can just hit spell check, grab a dictionary or plug a word into a search engine?

When I was a child, only one of those tools was available to me most of the time, but as time and technology progressed, the other two became accessible.

Compensating For the Weakness
Even though I’m better at spelling than I was, my first composition is always a complete mess. I’ve finally come to accept that. It’s not a big deal, because I know it’s just a part of the process.

Perfection, or even acceptability, takes time to achieve.

I’ve learned that the skill of spelling is only a tiny part of the overall practice of writing. I can set that aside, because I’ve stumbled upon a process that works for me.

That process for writing articles is usually as follows –

  • Write ideas as they come with lots of space underneath to jot further ideas or information down. Creating outlines just confuses me, so I don’t bother with them.
  • Research each idea or subheading, and write down pertinent information in its proper place.
  • Compose article using information and subheadings.
  • Hit spell check.
  • Proofread for grammar content and improper word use.
  • Spell check again.
  • Proofread one more time.
  • Hit spell check if I’ve added more words.
  • Read aloud to myself to ensure proper flow and decent grammar.
  • Repeat the last step until I’m satisfied.

Blog entries like these and fiction are a little different. Generally, I just sit down and type up the entry or story as ideas come. Then I spell check, proofread and read aloud at least a dozen times until I get it right. If my horrid spelling distracts me too badly, I just close my eyes, type and worry about the result later.

Even after all of that, I could still keep tweaking things, because it’s never, ever perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect, and I doubt there ever will be.

Writing isn’t easy at all, and I feel as if I need a lot more time tp do it than most people without dyslexia. However, I enjoy doing it, so I keep plugging away. It just takes an extra push to get past the starting point.

That desire, ultimate enjoyment or need is what drives us to master difficult tasks. Because we’re not all the same, it follows that we can’t all be good at the same thing.

For instance, I’m betting a number of you who are reading this are outstanding in the kitchen, where I’d burn jello if that were possible.

I may not be a great cook, but with the help of my robot tea-ball, Alfred Robbie, I can brew a mean cup of loose leaf tea.

I can cook enough dishes decently enough to get by, but let’s just say I don’t get any requests, outside of, “How about I take care of the food an you do the dishes?” That doesn’t really bother me either, since food isn’t a passion. However, I really admire those of you who can create amazing things in the kitchen. I have the feeling that some of your beginning dishes weren’t exactly savory, though.

When we first start anything, we will naturally make mistakes. If you want to do the thing badly enough, however, you can’t let those mistakes stop you from trying again. No one needs to see our terrible first attempts if we don’t want them to, especially when it comes to things like writing and art.

Keep experimenting with different methods, tools and techniques and you will eventually get to where you’d like to be.

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