1. Introverted Ali
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    Introverted Ali New Member

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    Feeling Illiterate yet motivated to write. :(

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Introverted Ali, Jan 5, 2016.

    English is not my first language or even third for that matter, I feel smart when I talk, but man I spell like a third grader, everything needs to be spell checked, I feel handicapped. It took me 10 years working odd jobs to finish College now most people say I don't even have an accent.

    I wanted to make Fantasy movies since high school, even went to Hollywood crashed and burned, didn’t like it, I want creative control, and I don’t have any money, then I tried to make a video game, even worse than filmmaking.

    I have this big idea about a grand fantasy Novel, I have been living with it for some time now, but when I go to the coffee shop, I see all these smart people who can spell so well, and I feel dumb and run away go home and play video games and eat. Getting sick of feeling dumb.

    Anyway thanks for listening.

    Hope the spelling and grammar is okay.
     
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  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry about spelling too much - your computer spell checker isn't perfect, but it's pretty good, as long as you catch the homonyms.

    Grammar is a bit more significant, probably - no so much because it's important to follow all the rules, but because not knowing grammar suggests you may not really understand how sentences work, and sentences are pretty important to writing!

    But you can learn basic grammar pretty easily. Honestly, it's probably one of the simpler tasks you'll face if you decide to start writing novels!
     
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  3. Introverted Ali
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    Introverted Ali New Member

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    Thank you, makes good sense.

    Its not going to be an easy process, it feels overwhelming, but I am determined to get this done.

    Feeling bad now for posting, not helping my image by calling myself Illiterate! After all who wants to be friends with an Illiterate writer, it's like being a blind painter! :( was looking for the delete thread couldn't find it.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey, don't beat yourself up over it! There are some people with English as their first language who aren't half as good as you are. I mean, you know the word illiterate. That's better than a lot of people. :p

    Anyway. You're taking good steps. I've seen this forum help so many people with their grammar and spelling. English is a hard language. We spend at least a quarter of our lives learning to master it. Don't expect it to happen overnight for you! Just keep trying. That's the key. Once you hit the criteria for posting your work, do it. You'll get some great feedback that I know will help you grow.

    Keep your head up, buttercup. :D You're on the right path.
     
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  5. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    :agreed:Yes, Ali, just do it and don't talk yourself down. Practise makes perfect, and writing is the best way to master your writing skills. Enable your spelling check and look up the words you keep having difficulty with. English is not my first language, but when I look back at how mine was when I first started writing three years ago, I now notice that it has greatly improved both in spelling and grammar. Besides that, you can always ask for feedback here.

    Go for it. Writing stories you want to write is the best self-study there is
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your two posts above have nothing wrong with them, so why do you feel so illiterate?

    OK, you may have leant heavily on your spell-checker, but we see so many posts where the writer obviously hasn't relied on it at all!

    OK, it may take you longer to write your masterpiece in a language that doesn't come that naturally to you, but it will take you long enough anyway (the speed I'm going, I may die first!) so keep plugging away.
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You don't come across as illiterate. At all.

    The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for writing is READ. Read novels that are similar to what you'd like to write yourself, and get a feel for how they look on the page, how they 'sound' to you when you read them. This is the easiest kind of learning you'll do, because you'll be enjoying yourself at the same time.

    I know a few people will disagree with me, but I do maintain that in order to be a good novelist you have to read novels. Not watch TV or movies or wish you could be a screenwriter ...but books. Novels. You wouldn't expect to become a moviemaker if you don't watch movies, would you? Same thing applies to books. If you don't read them, you're not going to know how they 'behave.'

    I'm not suggesting that every novelist has to be reading other novels while they write their own. In fact, sometimes that can be a distraction. But if you have never been a reader, I do doubt if you'll succeed as a writer. And why would you want to? If you don't like to read, why should anybody else want to read yours?

    So if you're not a reader already, and never have been ...my suggestion would be to start. Now.
     
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  8. Introverted Ali
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    Introverted Ali New Member

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    Thank you so much,

    Your advices are extremely helpful. Looking back at 9th grade when I first started learning English and reading my first major novel Great Expectations at 11th grade, after finishing the book I knew I had accomplished the most rewarding task of my life. I never got an A in my English class but I shouldn’t have judged myself, because I had accomplished an awesome thing.

    Practice is definitely the key, and yes reading should be my main goal, reading is the best teacher, I love Tolkien like most people and it’s easy to get distracted by the loud fancy movies and video games based on his works, I should never forget to go back to the source and experience it through the language the way he meant it.

    I may feel Illiterate but that is so far from the truth, because I love English too much to let her leave me. :)

    Some great ideas and motivations everyone thanks again.
     
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  9. hanger_boy89
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    hanger_boy89 Member

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    I must admit that considering English isn't even your third language as you say, your English is exceptional, better than that of some of the people who work in my office! I wouldn't worry, you're going to be fine :)
     
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  10. Introverted Ali
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    Introverted Ali New Member

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    Well I’m no prodigy, and to be fair English is my first language now, since I have been living in US for over 15 years now. I grew up in Iran, my dad had Turkish roots, my Mom spoke with a northern dialect, at school they taught us Farsi and Arabic, but I’m very rusty in all those wonderful languages now. The only one that I still try to keep up with is Farsi. I remember around age 19 or 20 I started to dream in English, but sometimes old roots come back in my dreams.
     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I am so in awe of people who speak more than one language fluently. I've dabbled in a couple, but I'm afraid I only speak English (now with a slight Scottish accent.) It's the curse of mainstream USA, really. We don't speak foreign languages fluently, as a rule. Why? Because 'everybody' speaks English, so we don't need to.

    I remember taking a short holiday to The Netherlands a few years ago, and feeling very cut off from things at times—especially as the first place I usually visit when I'm on a trip is a bookstore. There wasn't much point in visiting any there, because I don't speak Dutch. I wanted to read the written plaques in museums, but while there were a few lines in English, there were paragraphs in Dutch. I kept feeling like I was missing out. I hate missing out.
     
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  12. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    Hi @Introverted Ali. Welcome to the forum. I have to agree with everyone here. Judging by your posts so far your writing/English seems perfectly fine to me. I echo what @jannert said regarding speaking more than one language. I can manage a few phrases in Spanish, but that's about it! With regards to writing your novel, don't be afraid to give it a go. You just might surprise yourself. I joined here a year ago with the (very silly) impression that you should first do creative writing classes at the very least before even attempting to write, so I spent many many years keeping my writing a secret because I was... well, embarrassed! But I was wrong. I was terrified the first time I posted something into the workshop but overwhelmed by the positive response I got. It's great here for learning all aspects of writing. I think you'll do absolutely fine and look forward to seeing some of your work. Good luck ;)
     
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  13. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Yeah, my English is not where I want it to be, but I doubt anyone really cares that much. Writing exercises a different part of the brain than speaking. Verbally, I have a few expressions I throw onto my English sentences that come across as a little eccentric, but who am I kidding? I am eccentric!

    For spelling issues, there are many routes, but I like the Anki SMS flashcard system which lets you do drills and move onto different words. When you are writing, mark those incorrect words and create digital flashcards that are purely audio. Then you will later play them back in the Anki system and try to write them out correctly. As long as you remember to put the correct spelling on the reverse of the card, you can test yourself and improve your spelling. Though there are other ways, but I am partial to Anki since I study a lot with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
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  14. ArcticOrchid
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    I know how it feels. English is my second language and on top of that I have dyspraxia and dyslexic tendencies. However honestly what holds me back the most is not that I am not good enough but that I believe that I'm not good enough.

    Because my learning difficulties were diagnosed late, when I was 18, I had already gone through 12 years of school believing that language's aren't my thing. I tried to express my creative needs differently with various fine art. But the dyspraxia does affect fine motor skills so that never turned out well.

    Having these difficulties, being neuro atypical and traveling back and forth between schools even countries meant that I never got a complete education when it came to writing well in either language. I was so self conscious about it that once in college (british so I was 17) my teacher reached for my un-spelled checked, first draft, handwritten mock exam I actually slapped his hand away.

    When I started university to study politics, a course that is entirely essay based, I was terrified that I would be marked down for bad writing. I did well then I improved until my proof readers were only adding a few commas and full stops. By the end of it I realised that actually languages really are my thing. Specifically the written word.

    Now creative writing is a different beast but the principle is the same. The only way to learn to write well is to write and read. For a long time I didn't because I felt I was bad at it and I was, because I never wrote anything.

    I was slow to read when I was little because I never read because I thought I was bad at it. The first proper book that I read was Harry Potter and I remember very clearly agonising whether it would be a good idea, whether I was smart enough to get through such a big book (I was 7). What was holding me back was not really the fact that my neuro atypical brain was making the pages too bright and the letters blurry but that I believed that I was too bad at reading to get through it.

    I am happy with what I have written of my novel so far. It is nowhere near the quality that it needs to be in order to be published. But it is a solid start to build on both in regards to the storyline and characters but also the improvements that the technical bits need.

    I am still terrified of sharing it though, I have allowed my mother to read it and that's it. It was actually real nerve racking to share it with her. It is much more personal than academic writing.
     
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  15. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Don't let it be a hurdle to your writing. There are ways around your language shortcomings. Just write, use the tools available to you and follow it up with a competent beta reader or editor. English is my first language and thats how I go about readying things for publication.
     
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  16. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is there a problem with writing in your native tongue? You could always have it translated after it's finished.
     
  17. Introverted Ali
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    Introverted Ali New Member

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    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal experience it means a lot to me and gives me hope, I feel so much better after sharing my fears online.
     
  18. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    You shouldn't worry so much about spelling; however, don't neglect it, either.

    I'm English -- born and raised -- but my spelling is crap as well. I have a habit of spelling words the way I pronounce them, meaning I screw up the vowels a lot. I'm also really bad at remembering the order of letters in some words: yesterday, I was spelling believe as "beleive" which, as a native to the English language, is quite embarrassing to say the least.

    But what I admire is your determination. You haven't given up on your dream to get that fantasy story out into the world. As others have said, grammar and punctuation is more important than spelling simply because we have computers with spellcheck these days. I read a lot of classic literature from the 1800's, and I can honestly say that I'm bewildered by how the authors of that era wrote everything by hand or on typewriters. Essentially, writing takes time and discipline, and like any profession, you have to dedicate yourself completely or not bother.
     

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