How My Dyslexic Friend Mastered Writing

How My Dyslexic Friend Mastered Writing

Dr. Sara overcame dyslexia to write a great book in her field, and she’s 80% of the way there.

The two things that helped my dyslexic friend Sara become a writer:

  1. Outlining
  1. Self-acceptance (through the acceptance of others)

In her words:

I had a revelation today it may be just for me, (Dyslexic, Dysgraphia) OR  it may be insight for teaching folks like me or writers in general… I do not know.  But I am inspired to share with you.

Read when you have time.

Jeff, as difficult as it is to hold to an outline and paragraph structure (sheer torture may be a more accurate word for my Dyslexia brain) IT WORKS. It is very hard because my mind is constantly adding, problem solving, digesting, rewriting and seeing another point of view.

What does this format do? It gives me a path to write on. I actually feel like a wild horse in a green field on a sunny cool day. Perfect place to let my imagination run but it is overwhelming if I don’t stick to the path most of the time. The path is the Outline, the running free is me.

No one has ever been able to teach me this or even KNOW that is what I needed. But I learned from your STELLAR CLASS and trying and trying, rewriting, failing, trying again and again more than 7 months writing every week most days. The revelatory part is that IT FITS, IT WORKS it really really does. And I have fought it tooth and nail the whole way. I thank God for your Christ-like acceptance and patience.  I know I have a lot more work but this is still HUGE for me. From my heart I say thank you brother, Jeff, thank you.

I was so excited to get this from Sara. It shows two powerful components of good writing. The first is outlining. There are two types of writers: plotters and pantsers.

Plotters: Make an outline

Pantsers: Just sit there on their pants and write

(I don’t think you have to be wearing pants to be a pantser, but I recommend it if you are writing in public.)

Why Be a Plotter

Sometimes novelists can get away with being pantsers (not outlining), but for nonfiction, I can’t imagine how you would write a coherent argument without outlining first. Outlining can be difficult because that’s where the hard work of thinking occurs.

Let’s say you are outlining a chapter. You will have a main point and a few subpoints. Outline them with Roman numerals, capital letters, numbers, and small letters.

  1. Main point – Outlining is a good idea
    1. Supporting statement – When you outline, you think.
      1. Supporting statement of the supporting statement – thinking is the hard part.
        1. But if you’ll do it, the writing will come easy.
      2. You may even find you have nothing else to write once you outline.
    2. A client of mine hired me to turn his outlines into books.
      1. The outlines were so pristine that all I had to do was remove the numbers and letters.
      2. A capital letter was always a new paragraph.
        1. It made it so easy.
    3. When you outline, you know you’ve included all the relevant elements (say that five times fast).
      1. You know you have your main point.
      2. You know how many subpoints you have.
      3. You know if you have support them all.
    4. Outlining works; give it a try!

The Power of God-Acceptance 

The other element Dr. Sara mentioned was acceptance. Writing can be hard and lonely, especially if you are challenged with something like dyslexia. What Sara has found is that through having the support of a group, she is experiencing acceptance. When Sara experienced the acceptance of the group, she was able to accept herself, her own limitations, but also her strengths and genius in her field. Most importantly, whether she realized it or not, God was using a small group of brothers and sisters in Christ to deliver to Sara His own acceptance of her.

Sometimes we find out wonderfully why humans are, at heart, communal beings. We see why Jesus doesn’t only save us, He saves us into a family. We see why God calls us to churches and puts us in a body. Self-acceptance is powerful and necessary, but first we need to experience the acceptance of Christ that comes through our brothers and sisters.

Getting back to the lonely challenge of writing, what would it take today for you to accept yourself as a person and a writer? I can tell you with great confidence that God created you and loves you. He sent His Son Jesus to die for you and bring you to Himself. I can also tell you with 99% certainty that if you can’t stop thinking about writing, then He has likely called you to write. If there is a message you can’t get out of your heart, then the only way you will is to write it.

And for goodness sake, make an outline!

Also, if you would like to have a free PDF version of my book, From Heart to Page: A Short Book on Writing Your Christian Book, I would be honored to give it to you. Just email me at and say free book!

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