Being unpopular made me tough as hell. I got used to incessant criticism, of myself and everything I did. It stopped bothering me to the same degree. When you are the class whipping girl, every aspect of your existence is a problem to someone. It taught me to pay attention to the misfits, the people on the fringe, the purple cows. After all, I was one of them. I still am.
I had subconsciously buried this teeny tiny fact once I had finished the gravy train of education. I sat my last exam at university, which I took in a separate room to my peers, just like I had taken all of my exams. We had extra time as well as a couple of helpful ladies ready and willing to assist us more needy students. This was the last time I really gave my dyslexia any thought.
I was always writing when I was growing up in care. Not just creative writing, but also writing lots of letters to my social workers and to charities about my situation and what should be happening. I believe that all children in care want to write their story. It gives back some form of control, as when you're in care everything is written about you in your social services file which you don't always see. This builds a drive within to get our stories heard.
As we look forward to another brand new year, here's an idea I had while listening to some experts talk about how to get promotions in conventional workplaces. If, as I've suggested in some of these posts, you might think of your freelance or creative work as within the framework of a sort of imaginary office, why not give yourself a promotion every now and then?
Love the feedback. Good, 'bad', indifferent - it will all add to your development as a writer. Sometimes it's hard to accept open criticism, and I certainly would not advise putting up with anything personal or nasty. Be thankful that people are actually reading what you wrote and taking the time to connect.
With Christmas around the corner, we're encouraging parents, families and anyone buying a gift for a child or young person to give the gift of a diary. You'll be giving them a platform to express themselves and the tools to become a better writer, which will help them now and long in to the future. And you never know - your child might just produce the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid!
So, why does this matter? We know that children who enjoy writing and who write frequently outside the classroom do better at school. Our research showed that children and young people who enjoy writing very much were seven times more likely to write above the expected level for their age, compared with those who do not enjoy writing at all