Reading in Library

Being neurodivergent as an editor - my savant skill?

Updated: Feb 23

I learnt recently that neurodivergent folk have something called savant skills. This was quite exciting to me, as a recently diagnosed Aspie (Asperger) - it shone a light on the more positive aspects of autism and neurodiversity that I sorely needed to hear.

Savant skills are usually portrayed in popular culture and film as the ‘typical’ Asperger's autistic who can’t have normal relationships but can count cards or do complex maths.

Having savant skills can be along those lines, but isn’t always like that. I believe my savant skills are around my dancing and my writing abilities. I don’t remember practicing like crazy to get better at these things; it just sort of happened.

I think savant skills come from a real love of something, a deep connection or interest in an activity, that by indulging provides you with a sense of belonging or pure happiness. Some of us are lucky to find what we love, and others might not do due to lack of opportunity. Then there could be restrictions to trying new things because of our gender, educational experiences or cultural background.

Life really can be against us having the time, opportunity, the right teacher or encouragement to try new things, but I believe that everyone has something (or more than one thing) that they are good at, and will take to. This could become your savant skill.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if more of us were to find that one thing that made us happy? That gave our life purpose, meaning and motivation. I believe we’d have a much better society if that were the norm.

So, I love writing. Especially writing stories. It has always been a form of escape for me, a chance to explore a new world, live a different life. And editing is much the same. I get to drop into the world of other authors, poke around a bit, enhance, tweak and polish. And we both emerge having seen something magical and wonderful happen that makes the world they’ve created jump off the page.

It has taken me a little while to get my head around being neurodivergent, and not all of it is positive. But it has given me the insight that the things I love doing the most, my special interests, have become lifelong passions. And for that I am very grateful.