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How My Disabilities Are Affecting Me as a Writer

I moved to self-employment back in 2000 and it eventually became the only way I could work, in my own chair, in my own office, in my own home. I was grateful that I had managed to provide some income even though as the primary wage earner, it was never enough.

I haven’t felt like writing so much in the last years as my brain fog increased, mostly due to the mast cell activation syndrome. Once the brain fog started clearing up after I got medications, I was cheered, but during the pandemic, it’s been really hard. I always have something to say but my writing has always depended on writing in my head first. I never lost that ability but lost the ability to remember what I wrote in my head!

That has continued to improve but has never reached the level I was able to manifest years ago. And now, with less brain fog but continuing issues with the myasthenia gravis, I found out today another ability of mine has truly been damaged. Proofreading.

One of the tools in a writer’s toolbox is to remove oneself enough to proof and fix errors. As a former reporter, English teacher, and editor, it’s just who am, what I’ve always been able to do.

Or maybe who I was.

I wrote an article today for an upcoming publication, read it over at least three times, read it out loud to myself once, and then read it out loud to my husband. Hubby’s listening means I pay more attention to the words I read and I do find my “last errors” that way. After the final reading, I copied and pasted it from Word to email in my Chrome browser. That highlighted even more errors that I had missed. I sat back stunned.

I no longer can even effectively proofread my own writing without massive effort and time.

So this is a mea culpa, an apology, and a lament. All my writing errors are mine. I own them. I am a disabled writer, not a writer with a disability (or two) but a disabled writer.  I can only hope with more medicine, more effective medicine, I can regain that ability. Some bit of hope today. Maybe someday I’ll be just a writer with disabilities once again.

Read more of Delia’s writing on her website.

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