Teenage Writer Amanda Bogart Discusses Becoming an Author Against All Odds
For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being an author (which is a funny thing to say, knowing that I only turned seventeen recently). When I was younger and still in elementary school, I struggled with dyslexia, a learning disorder that involves difficulty in learning to read, write, and interpret words and sounds. It was because of this learning disorder that I hated English, writing, and anything having to do with it. People told me that I would never succeed in literature and that I would struggle with writing and reading for the rest of my life. The funny thing about telling me I can’t do something… it only makes me want to accomplish that goal even more than before. A few years later, after I barely passed all of my English classes, an author visited my school.
Was it fate?
He immediately inspired me, and I wanted nothing more than to be just like him. I felt connected to that author because, like me, he was dyslexic. His story was the exact mirror image of mine and he understood all of the pain I had been though. Other kids in my class had heroes and people they looked up to, like their parents, celebrities, or race-car drivers … but my hero was a little different. The person I admired and idolized was an author, and I yearned to one day become one too. I wanted it more than anything to show all of those people—all of those negative voices telling me that I couldn’t become a writer—that I could. I soon realized that it wasn’t an easy task at all. I wanted to give up countless times and maybe strive to become something a little more normal for my age.
Give up the dream I had worked so hard to reach for?
However, I couldn’t just stop writing. To stop everything and give up was an even harder task than to continue. Every time I felt myself back away from my dream and the world I created, I would only think more about it. It was almost like my story beckoned to be continued. “Just one more chapter,” I would tell myself over and over again, until the negative voices slowly disappeared and I only listened to the positive ones.
Today, I hold that world I created though my blood, sweat, and tears in a tangible form— printed, covered, and published. I’ve visited schools and talked to classes many times. It must have been fate again when I called on a shy child and asked him what his dream was. He answered in a way I wasn’t expecting by telling me that he was dyslexic and wanted to be just like me. I had to hold myself back from crying in that classroom of students, several of them struggling through the same situation I had been though all those years ago.
It only took one voice… one small voice from a young child for me to realize how ironic everything had suddenly become. For so long, I was striving to become an author like someone who had inspired me, and now I was inspiring others. It boggles my mind every time I think about it, thinking about how that dream that seemed so far beyond my reach--the dream that seemed to jump miles away whenever I took a single step towards it--was now right in front of me. What was once my fear became my greatest strength.
[Get your copy of Amanda's book, Fantasy Fighters: Flicker of Light, in the AuthorHouse Bookstore.]