I first found out I had dyslexia at the age of 48.
That’s late in comparison to most people. I think I slipped through the net at school and there wasn’t as much support for children with dyslexia, I just thought I wasn’t academic – although I was good at art and PE. I’ve had to educate myself quite a lot to be where I am today.
I decided to write a book about my experiences with dyslexia to inspire others.
One night, I was reading a personal development book by Stephan Longworth, and I had a lightbulb moment on one paragraph, and started writing at 4 o’clock in the morning. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders by putting everything on paper. Before that point, I hadn’t really thought about being an author. I believe that everyone has the potential to do something worthwhile, and I always knew there was something within me, but I didn’t know what it was.
People need to focus on what they’re good at more.
Too often, I hear comments such as, ‘I love drawing but it’s only part-time’ – there’s no reason why it can’t be a full-time thing if you really put your heart and soul into it.
My first children’s book is called Frickel and the Golden Locket.
Frickel is based on my imaginary friend as a child, who I always envisioned as a frog. The book is aimed at children between the ages of five and 10 and is heavily illustrated to help children who struggle with dyslexia.
Following the release of the book, I’ve set up The Sunflower Dreams Academy to help children develop ideas and find their aspirations.
Sunflowers have been my coping mechanism through hard times because my dad, who was an artist, used to always paint sunflowers. At the workshops, I read excerpts of the book to children, and share the motivational messages within it.
The response from children has been unreal.
I’ve done a big workshop in Morpeth and a few smaller ones so far. It was lovely to be able to explain the words that I’d written in the book, and then encourage the kids to open up about the inner workings of their own imagination.
Doing the workshops, I’ve noticed that every child has great potential – they just have to be taught how to use it.
It’s amazing what ideas children come up with, both in their writing and drawing. I think it’s important for kids to have role models to help them use their imagination – mine was Johnny Depp because I loved his characters, and he inspired me to unlock my own creativity.
My main mission is to positively impact the lives of one million children worldwide by 2020.
Obviously it would be a challenge to do that all by myself, so I’m hoping to recruit a team to help me take these workshops around the world.
I don’t watch TV to keep out negativity.
I’m always on the search for inspirational quotes and listen to a lot of uplifting music. The key to my happiness has been conditioning myself to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and I hope that by sharing that, I’ll help others follow their dreams – and not leave it too long.