Last year, while on a plane during our holiday in Cambodia and Vietnam, a woman was telling me a friend she knew was keen on writing her own story, a bio if you like, of her life growing up blind. I remember thinking months later I wonder how she was getting on and whether she had even made a start. I also wondered what barriers might she be facing to achieve her goal.
By chance recently Virginia Grenier, Award winning Author and Editor, and Founder and Partner of The World of Ink Network, was introducing Traci McDonald a blind author, through World of Ink Virtual Tour debuting her romantic suspense Novel , Killing Casanova. Again I wondered after interviewing Traci, apart from all the usual ups and downs writers’ face, what would be her one main barrier or battle she faces, that maybe we may take for granted. Well, I was told Traci tells it like it is, and feely offers any insight to her world. Seems I caught her at just the right time…. Here’s Traci…
Winning the War
Today, I am in the trenches. I am getting down and dirty under the computer desk, and trying to figure out why my speakers are not speaking to me. Yesterday, my Speech-to-Text Program and I engaged in hand to hand combat over which one of us would write e-mail. I won that one; probably the reason he is refusing to speak to me today.
Like most relationships; my computer and I are either the best of friends, or mortal enemies. I either love the fact that I can write and he will read me what I have written, or I hate the annoying drone of his emotionless digital voice. When he doesn’t talk, I panic, but I wish he would read my stories with all of the passion and emotion I put into them. I love to hear him tell me there is no grammar or spelling errors, but I hate the sound of his voice informing me the twelve page chapter I just finished “Cannot be found.”
I am, however, completely reliant on his good nature and desire to be helpful. Without my talking computer I am just a blind woman scribbling unreadable sentences in notebooks. At times I forget to be grateful for his ability to speak every word or letter I type. I take for granted, it is this piece of machinery that makes it possible for me to stay in touch with the writing world, post on my blog, answer e-mails etc. etc.
The hardest part of writing is being reliant on technology to do it. I am at the computers beck and call. If the internet is down, or the machine is overloaded, Text-to-Speech capabilities are useless. I can take verbal notes on my hand held recorder. I can get a sighted person to try and help me. I can pound my keyboard in frustration and hope the computer will take the hint. In the end…I have to keep fighting the battles. No matter what task one takes on in life, if it’s worthwhile, it’s a battle. Sometimes I fight it from moment to moment, sometimes from year to year. The battle continues to rage, with or without my heart in the fight. The biggest challenge for me is to keep fighting. So, when the computer and I don’t get along, or my story drags and the monotone, digital voice just makes it sound worse; I keep going. It is having the will to never give up that wins the war.