Visually impaired writer Rebecca Yeomans, writes about pursuing a career as a creative writer and how telling stories has helped Rebecca come to terms with her visual impairment.

I was registered blind since the age of one, but that hasn’t stopped me from pursuing my career as a writer. Telling stories has always been my way of dealing with my sight loss. Due to my eye conditions and prognosis, I will one day go blind. Creative writing is my way of seeing and navigating the world around me. I can see any world I want to and make it real for anyone, stories are magical, and can help you in the lowest or the highest point in your life. Creating characters, worlds, settings and situations can unleash your visual impairment, just as it has for me.

I began writing stories at a young age and decided to do an undergraduate and a master’s degree in creative writing. This allowed me to fine-tune my skills as a writer and editor. Now, I write blogs and short stories regularly as well as writing novels. Because of my visual impairment, I can spot errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure as I must read over my work several times to make sure there are no mistakes. Reading my work aloud, touch typing and using specialist equipment like ZoomText and Dragon allow me to dictate and see what I’m writing. Touch typing is a good skill to learn and develop as you can just type, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes the first time around, editing makes sure your stories are clear and look professional.

Creative writing has been a great way of expressing my frustrations and positive moments with being visually impaired. I was always afraid to include visual impairment into my stories, but now I have visually impaired characters and try to experiment with my writing. One of the ways I do this is by using no visual description in the story to show readers what it can be like living with a visual impairment. To begin with, my friends were confused with the idea, but the more I write about it, the more they have come to empathise with me. I include many interactions I have with other people, some negative, some positive. With using creative wiring, I can show readers how sometimes their help or comments can be hurtful or unhelpful.

Just because you might be visually impaired or blind, creative writing can be a coping technique and way of expressing yourself. And you don’t just have to write it down, why not use spoken word? This can be poems or stories you write and read aloud in front of other people. It can boost your confidence and raise awareness of being visually impaired. Classmates, friends, teachers and family members will hear you, they will come to understand what life can be like being visually impaired.

You can write anything you want to, the possibilities really are endless. Put your frustrations, anxieties and thoughts about being sight-impaired into stories and set them free. Being visually impaired does not mean you can’t use your voice or your words for something good. You don’t need to see to create a world around you.