My struggles with Dyslexia and Becoming a Writer by Nicola Worswick – Guest Post

My struggles with Dyslexia and Becoming a Writer by Nicola Worswick – Guest Post

Today we welcome author Nicola Worswick with her guest post ‘My struggles from discovering I had dyslexia to becoming a writer, illustrator and campaigning to support children with their creative side‘. Check out her post below and her children’s book ‘Captain Cuthbert’s Robot’. – This post contains affiliate links.

Nicola Worswick

I’m Nicola, I first started writing and illustrating my children’s book series when I was 13. The stories follow the big bad pirate Captain Cuthbert and his long-suffering cat, Scat, whom I guarantee you will fall in love with. Captain Cuthbert on the other hand is bossy, greedy and selfish and always lands himself in trouble.

I struggled with lack of confidence due to having dyslexia, especially with the focus on academics at school. Creativity always seemed to be dismissed by comments like “that’s good but… you need to improve your maths”. Being working class also had its restrictions. I gave up writing and illustrating my books only to rediscover them in my 30s and I am so glad I did.

From my experience I developed a passion to help children to learn and or embrace their creative talents. I believe having a focus on your talents can help you to have more confidence and this helps in all aspects of life. I now run free cartoon workshops and step-by-step draw alongs both online and in person.

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My struggles from discovering I had dyslexia to becoming a writer, illustrator and campaigning to support children with their creative side.

I grew up in an ex mining village in Lancashire. As a young child I used to love exploring the local countryside particularly woods and derelict buildings. I always had a creative imagination so it was during these explorations that ideas for stories came to mind.

I went through a woods one day and came across a strange looking building that was closed off with wire fencing topped with razor wire. The only entrance was a guarded kiosk. Of course this was an alien testing centre in my imagination. To be fair it did look like something of X-Files or Stranger Things. The stories always seemed to just naturally come alive in my head. But I couldn’t seem to get them down on paper. I was often told off for daydreaming or doodling in school. But my imagination just seem to wander. I always had a visual mind and thought in pictures so when an idea came into my head I wanted to draw it immediately so it wouldn’t disappear.

In the last year of primary school I was put on what was known as ‘The Thicky Table’. I knew I was different from my brother who was always top of the class and popular. I was more of a loner and observer. Eventually I moved off the ‘Thicky Table’ and was put in the cloakroom and told that I was unteachable. At the time I thought it was great. I hated getting laughed at for getting questions wrong and reading out loud in front of the class. I got to do puzzles all day. I was also in with another pupil who was the class comedian. He was hilarious and we became good friends. Turns out that we were both dyslexic. A learning difficulty it was called. In my mind back then I thought the teacher was right. I couldn’t learn and there was something wrong with me.

Jumping forward to secondary school I was now a year behind in learning and was put in the bottom set. Kids in the class didn’t want to learn. Most of the teachers tried their best to maintain behaviours rather than teach. I still wanted to learn and felt frustrated. My work always came back with red pen all over it. My creative side was dismissed and overshadowed by academic subjects which I struggled with. I was forced into academic and told that yes your art is good but you need to improve on my maths, etc etc… This fuelled my believe that I was unteachable and I was thick.

One English lesson we were set homework to create a story. Yes, this was more like it I thought. All my ideas poured out but despite all my efforts couldn’t get them down on paper.

I got bullied quite severely at school to the point that I had to leave. I attended a centre instead. This was a place where I got the support I needed. The art teacher there said why don’t you try writing a children’s story because you are creative and good at drawing. ‘Me good at something?’ This was the point when I started creating my book series.

I put my all into the books, designing characters and creating stories. This was something I could do. It took me a while to work out how to put things together. I couldn’t follow a formal route as my brain was more visual. I sketch all my characters and story boards then jotted ideas for stories in bullet points or spider diagrams. I learned that I could write with a computer. The struggles I had with getting things down on paper was all my ideas came out at once images and pictures would pop into my mind like a whirlwind. On a computer I can write it all out following bullet points and spider diagrams and pictures. It didn’t make any sense as it was all mixed up and my grammar and punctuation was all over the place. But I could then edit it afterwards move it around, change it, use a spell and grammar checker. I wrote and illustrated 3 books in my series at the age of 13.

I had a few bad experiences which triggered the failure issues again and so I gave up. ‘I was thick, working class and had a learning difficulty, what was the point, I’m not good enough to be a writer and illustrator’.

It took me to my 30s before I rediscovered my books. I met a friend who was academic, he was a retired medical doctor who was an author and editor. He encouraged me to show him the books. So I redid them using modern technology ‘Photoshop’ this brought my illustrations to life. I am now obsessed with drawing and creating illustrations on Photoshop. I tentatively showed him. I was shocked by his response. He told me that he would edit them for me and that they were good enough to publish. This coming from someone successful was my turning point. I have since wrote, illustrated and published 7 books in the series.

Due to my experience I now have a passion to help children with their creative side. I run free cartoon workshops and draw along on YouTube and in person. I did my first school visit where I provided a cartoon draw along and the kids loved it. I met a young girl aged 6 at a Bookfest event that I founded who came to my first ever draw along. Her art and creativity was amazing and far excelled her years. You guessed it she was dyslexic too. It was great to speak to her and her mum and get the chance to encourage her with her skills and abilities. She sent me her drawings which I posted on my book Facebook page. Floods of compliments and encouragements came in. Her mum told me that she has never stopped drawing since then.

I am not thick, I can learn, I just learn differently. I am a visual learner which has its great advantages for writing and illustrating stories. I can create stories from my imagination. I see pictures in my mind which I can instantly draw. I can draw scenes and characters from different angles. Yes I do it differently, I just needed to find my own way.

My books follow a pirate called Captain Cuthbert who is greedy, selfish, and bossy and his loveable cat called Scat which he stole when he was only a kitten. There are four books about Cuthbert, one about Scat the Cat then two more books. The Visitor’ which is about an alien visiting earth. Maybe inspired from my childhood memory of the ‘Alien testing centre’. The last one is called ‘Lord Uppity’. Scat the Cat was is a popular character so he is in all my stories. He was created from a cat I hand reared when I was young. My inspiration for my pirate books came from my Pirate Lego set and a walkthrough computer game called ‘Monkey Island’. Just shows that inspiration can come from anywhere even a walk in the woods…

Captain Cuthberts robot

Captain Cuthbert’s Robot

Author – Nicola Worswick
Pages – 15
Release Date – 1st January 2020
ISBN 13 – 978-1654534578
Format – ebook, paperback

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Captain Cuthbert is greedy! Captain Cuthbert is selfish! Captain Cuthbert is bossy! He always seems to land himself in trouble.

Captain Cuthbert gets a robot that is programmed to do anything its master commands.

What trouble will he land himself in next?

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The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links. All money received goes back into the blog and helps to keep it running. Thank you.

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