“Dealing with ADHD as a Writer” / Lisa Kusel

(The following post originally appeared on Lisa’s website. We are reprinting it here in its entirety with her permission.)

Because I make my living as a writer, people might be surprised to know that I have a hard time reading. While the act of writing feels as natural to me as breathing, moving my eyes from word to word on a page sometimes feels akin to pulling a heavy cart uphill.

When I was twenty-five, I asked my eye doctor why, when I read, the white spaces between the words on a page sometimes pop out at me, and why, when I reach the end of a sentence, I often have trouble finding my way to the beginning of the next sentence. I also read slowly and—as demonstrated by my SAT and GRE scores—I suffered from poor reading comprehension.

He said I have a reading disability. “You mean, like dyslexia?” I asked. He shook his head and said there was no real term for my imperfect brain-to-eye connection, but if I wanted to focus better I should 1) move a black sheet of construction paper down the page, sentence by sentence; or 2) trace along the sentences with my finger or a pencil eraser.

fingerreading

I used those strategies to propel me through graduate school—a piece of black paper was always sticking out from the scholarly texts I lugged around Brown University’s campus. I also was quick to join study sessions, where I would glean from conversation all that I’d missed from my readings.

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“The Symbiotic Relationship between Editor and Author” / Tamara Hart Heiner

Authors and editors are different job titles, but they share the same role: to make something poignant, dramatic, and beautiful out of words.

The two go hand-in-hand. One cannot function without the other. Where would authors be without editors? And where would editors be without authors? The two are so closely related that many an editor has put his hand to pen (or keyboard, as it would be) and pumped out prose or poetry. And more than one author has hung out a shingle and declared herself an editor.

I would say that the very best editors are both, and here’s why.

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“The Art of Ending a Sequel”/ Amie McCracken

The ending to your story is just that, an ending – the finale, finish, fin, finis, kaput, over with, done, gone, ended. There is a finesse to ending a story correctly which includes things like tying up plot lines and giving the reader some satisfaction while also giving hope or despair for what will come. But it is simply not ok to leave an ending open.

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