After finishing my Combat Boy series, I decided to take a break and stop writing cold-turkey for a few weeks. Rest and relaxation seemed like the perfect thing before jumping into the difficult task of marketing my book series, or so I thought. Quickly I discovered that if you stop writing cold-turkey, you get a terrible case of writing withdrawals. The side-effects are like when you drink coffee for years and suddenly stop. You feel awful. The physical, emotional, and mental pain is real. The only thing that I wanted to do was get on the computer and dive into the next story bubbling up in my brain and escape back into my creative zone to feel better. I wanted to be with my characters, have an adventure, and make myself laugh.
The problem was, I committed to spending the next two years of my life marketing my books. Writing a new story was off the table. So, I got busy researching the art of marketing. It didn’t take long before I wanted to crawl into a dark closet and never come out. There’s so much to learn. And there is so much information online, the good, the bad, and the confusing. I honestly think if I had published my first book and then started marketing it, I would have never finished writing my book series. I would have been too overwhelmed.
Authors are supposed to jump through a million social media hoops: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, have a podcast, a YouTube channel and a blog, so their audience can get to know them. It’s madness. I mean, I like writing about other people, places, and things—not myself. Also, I get writer’s block when the topic is about me. It feels narcissistic to be like—hey, everyone! Look at me, look at me. But to build a fan base, you have to stand out to get noticed. You can’t be shy or boring. You have to be unique and authentic.
At first, I couldn’t think of anything that made me unique as an author. Then it hit me like a baseball bat to the side of the head. The one thing that makes me unique I’ve tried to keep it a secret because I’ve always been ashamed and embarrassed about it. But, it is the one thing that separates me from the herd of authors populating the internet.
I guess it’s time to spill the beans. So—here goes. I am dyslexic. I am an accomplished dyslexic author. I know dyslexic author sounds like an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, but that’s me. And I have to admit, being an accomplished author with dyslexia is unique. Of course, there have been some very famous writers with dyslexia, but none of them ever opened up about their experience living with it. It would have been fascinating if they had shared their stories, how it affected them, mentally and emotionally.
Dyslexia has done a number on me. It’s given me depression, anxiety, and a terrible case of CPTSD, complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Telling my story about growing up with dyslexia is going to trigger old wounds. But it will be the most authentic thing I can blog about, so you can get to know me. Of course, that’s not the only topic I’ll cover. I am ADHD too. Lucky me, right? Well, maybe. We will see. I hope to turn lemons into lemonade by being open about my experience with dyslexia and ADHD. I hope I can help others who struggle with those things too. One thing is for sure, writing this blog post has cured me of my writing withdrawals. My mind is bubbling with stories about my dyslexia and the creative ways that I can tell them.