So WordPress does a Writing 101 in their “Blogging University” thing. Have you seen it? I tried out their first prompt, which challenged me to write nonstop for 20 minutes, creating a stream of consciousness piece. And then they suggested that I publish it. Which I immediately called BS on. No way was I going to let the world see something straight out of my brain. But after letting the idea sit (and consulting Jess to make sure it was readable), I decided to put it out there. So I present to you today, with only spell checking and structural edits (you’ll appreciate the paragraph breaks), here it is: My Brain on Writing.
This is a prompt to make me a better writer. I don’t need to be a better writer I think? I write like I talk, and that usually works out for me. But I need to write in a way people will like. Jess likes the way I write. She thinks I’m funny. And my therapist thinks that I explain things well. Autism things. She thinks that that is something that is unique to me, but I know a lot of wonderful autistic writers who explain things at least as well, if not better than me. And I wonder, what with all the great autistic writers, why most of the books out there about autism suck. Some of them suck because it’s a neurotypical person trying to explain autism for the masses. That’s an understandable reason for it to be bad. But I’ve also read books by autistic authors that are almost unreadable. At least that’s what I think. Neurotypical people seem to love them. I wonder where the editing moral line is there. You want these books to be reasonable to read, but you don’t want to get in the way of a neurodivergent writer.
I think I want to be published someday. I’d love to help explain autism to parents and researchers and educators in a way that they understand. Because if they don’t understand, things aren’t going to get better. So for the sake of autistic people to come, I’ve got to find a way. People like when you explain things to them in a personal way. So I add stories to my writing. I talk about my favorite blue bowl and my love of roller coasters, and it makes people more comfortable, more relaxed, and more willing to listen to what I have to say. It makes them realize that I’m a person. Which when you think about it is kind of terrible. If I was to stand in front of them, and just start talking, maybe hand them a flow chart, they’d be in the mindset of “wow, look at this girl with autism, she sure has a lot to say. It’s such a shame that what she’s saying is being distorted by her autism. If only she had the ability to present something that came from a more normal mindset.” Blah blah blah, white noise.
Eventually, they’d stop listening. They’d shred up my flow chart with their bored hands. And nothing I had to say would get through. All they’d remember about me was autism. And I’m more than that. I have things to share. I am going to do everything I can to be an advocate for myself. Hopefully for other people too. Here’s my promise to myself. I’m going to write. I’m going to communicate with people in my community. I’m going to find a way to talk to professionals, and maybe even parents. I can volunteer with kids with disabilities. I can make stim toys and coping skills tools. Maybe even find myself a career. Prove that I don’t have to be more than my autism. That I AM my autism.