Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spellchecker can be your friend, but don’t let it be a crutch.

I write the above, and this blog, not just to teach those who need to know, but to acknowledge I have made the mistake of relying too heavily on computer spellchecker programs many times.

If you can’t recognize your own faults and learn from them, how can you teach others?

That squiggly red line for spelling mistake, the squiggly green line for grammar, they show up regularly in my work, and I try my best to squash the squiggles. (Squash the Squiggles. Would that have made a better title?)

A great thank you goes out to all who have stuck with me and reading both my blog and my serial ‘Revenge of the Masked Ghost’ for the last several months. Not only because I’m really glad to know you like my work, but that you’ve put up with a ton of mistakes slipping through. (Look there goes a red squiggly now; I just typed ‘miskates’. Interesting sounding word, but wrong.)

Went back and reread my book review as well as the Megamind blog, and I’m embarrassed by how many mistakes were in both of them. Really surprised when a totally wrong word shows up. Spellchecker can’t help with those. Have no excuse for any of it other than to say I write each blog (including this one) rather quickly at the last minute. Shouldn’t do that, I know. I did correct the mistakes in those entries.

I didn’t get hired for a writing assignment recently because the client found spelling mistakes in the writing samples I submitted. He thought I had a lot of good ideas, but couldn’t sit over my shoulder and correct each mistake that came along. Of course, he’s right. Even though there would be an editor on the project it’s her job to fit it into the over all theme and format of the book, not fix each and every wrong spelling or misplaced comma. Those should have been take care of long before it gets to the editor’s desk.

Lesson learned. I’m trying very hard to correct every mistake I can possibly find, though I will invariably miss something.

Sometimes I think the spellchecker is wrong. Is the word ‘correct’ used correctly? Computer says it’s not.

I admit to having a problem with ‘sound-a-likes’ such as ‘then’ and ‘than’. I need to pay more attention to that.

Next lesson. After you’ve squashed the squiggles, print the darn paper out and read it.

Yes, we’re supposed to be a paperless society, but it’s not going to happen. Print it out and take a pencil to it. There’s something even better you can do to find mistakes, read it aloud. It’s embarrassing, sure, but find someplace you can be alone and read to hear your own words. You may even find that the words (even spelled correctly) aren’t the right ones after all. Hearing is far more powerful then sight when it comes to catching problems.

When I’m finished with this blog, I’m going to follow my own instruction and print it and read it aloud.

Lastly, there are people who see bloggers as the new journalists of our society, if so they should at least try to learn the proper style of newspaper and journalistic writing and that includes getting your words spelled right.

I may not go back and correct every mistake in all the blogs I’ve written, but do intend on proofing again each of the chapters of the serial.

Again, thank you for putting up with my bad spelling, because without fixing that I can’t truly say…

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

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