5 Tips for the Dyslexic Reader

If you’re not familiar with dyslexia it can be simplified down to difficulties with reading and spelling, although this is reducing a very complex learning difficulty into a few words and by no means does the challenges it creates justice.

Rather surprisingly, about half the people on my degree were dyslexic, myself included. For context I did my undergraduate degree in creative and professional writing, so not the place you’d expect to find a bunch of dyslexic people.

As expected, a degree program with writing in the title also came with a lot of reading, something I know that many of us struggled with, but we made it though and even after we graduated many of us remain to be avid readers.

After many conversations with my peers about it, there are a few tips that have helped us that I can pass on in the hope of helping someone else with dyslexia with their reading journey.

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Tips for running a small business as a student

This academic year I’ve been juggling working towards my degree, writing for this blog and running my own small business… it’s been wild.

I haven’t had my business, HyperHoot, for all that long. I started selling my needle felted gifts earlier this year and I still have a lot to learn. But over these past few months as I’ve juggled my university work and my shop, I’ve come across a few tips that have helped me out and I’d like to share them with you guys. I know many students often think of ways to have their own ‘side hustle’ when they’re at university, so I help these six tips will help you out if you do decide to take the leap and start up your own business.

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How to run a blog as a student

As the new academic year has drawn closer, I’ve been thinking back to when I first started my blog in college. When I started, I couldn’t find much advice on how to navigate all of this. I didn’t know how to plan my time, my content, I thought I needed loads of fancy equipment and I felt a bit lost and lonely in it all. At the moment, I feel that many people will probably be starting their own blogs as they want to document a new and exciting time in their life as they go to college or University. Starting a blog is an awesome hobby, I can never seem to get bored with it. So, for those of you considering starting a blog or have just started one, I wanted to share with you a few tips and a bit of advice that I wished someone had told me when I first started. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but I hope this can help you find your feet as you enter the blogging community.

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The villain doesn’t have to die – alternative endings for your book

When it came to outlining my book one of the biggest things I had to consider was how the story was going to end, what would the climax be? This was by far the longest part of the whole outlining process for me and arguably the most difficult. Since the age of 16 I’ve wrote YA, young adult fiction was what I read the most and by default was what I wrote the most of. This age range was fantastic because the reader was older enough to understand heavier topics and as a result there was a whole host of possible endings for you book. However, after studying children’s fiction at university I found myself wanting to write a children’s book and this presented me with a few unexpected challenges.

When you write for a different age group to the one that you’re in you have to do far more research. At university I got used to writing for adults, the age of those around me. My work became more mature and I had no issues with touching on hard hitting issues like abuse or murder. But as I stated outlining Mirrors and Magic (working title) I quickly realised this had to change. I was now writing for those under the age of ten and I was not going anywhere near those topics in the way I had done in the past.

In a lot of the short stories I’d drafted that followed the tradition hero’s journey (just like Mirrors and Magic will), I killed off the antagonist at the end and usually at the hands of the hero. But when it came to the ending of Mirrors and Magic, I wasn’t jumping at the idea of having my hero killing off the villain. I’m writing a children’s book with a protagonist who is under ten years old. I can’t say I feel comfortable with a child becoming a killer.

I appreciate that what I’m writing is fiction, so it doesn’t have to play into real world values, but as a writer of children’s fiction I wanted to explore other options and consider there being another ending. As well as it feeling slightly morally wrong, I felt that jumping straight for the hero kills the villain was a bit lazy, it was the easiest option (by the way, there’s nothing wrong with this ending I’m not criticising people who kill off the antagonist of their book. I just felt that I would only be choosing it because it required the less amount of thought for my book). So, I began to explore alternative endings where the villain didn’t have to die, and this lead me down a bit of a rabbit hole I want to share with you all today.

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