Whoever said that “words will never hurt me” is full of baloney (don’t call me on the spelling of that word, it’s official, you can look it up). Let me tell you something, the bad spelling that I put up with all over the place… quite frankly, it’s painful. Now, I don’t claim to be all that great at grammar, and hard as I try, I’m sure my punctuation isn’t always right, either. Actually, I think I over-punctuate, if that’s a word. So, feel free to call me on it. Embarrassing as it can be, I like to correct my mistakes, so that I don’t look stupid. There ought to be more people who think like that.
How do I make it obvious to everyone? I try to be uncritical, but if you want your post, article, or book to look really good, you need to spell things properly. And I’m not just talking about “your” and “you’re”, which technically are grammatical errors, but I think they must be tied closely to spelling. Someone can explain the difference to me, if they feel so led. But I’ve seen TONS of bloggers use those terms incorrectly, and it makes you look careless or ignorant. Take your pick. That goes for “it’s” and “its”, as well.
But in this modern age, where computers are omnipresent, I’ve found that several generations of bad spellers think they have found the cure to their problem. If they just run the spell-check, everything will be fine. Well, I hate to break it to you, but that is WRONG. Want to know why? Because if you write the word incorrectly, but it’s (see, I meant “it is”, so I used that correctly!) still a word, then the computer doesn’t pick up on it.
If you don’t take my meaning, then let me provide an example. I don’t even remember the name of the blog that was Freshly Pressed, recently, and this endearing gem, “it was a feet of engineering!”, showed up. Can I go curl up in a corner and cry? That was painful.
Don’t get me wrong, I usually just let my extreme attention to spelling give me a good laugh. What my friends don’t know, won’t hurt them… even if I bust a rib on my end of the computer conversation. A dear friend of mine once referred to the “rupture”, when they meant the “rapture”. My friend and I are both Christians, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not going to take the time to explain.
I once read a book, and then I tried to write to the publisher, but I’m pretty sure my letter never got through. Is there an editing job that’s just for good spellers? If you know of one, please tell me, because I need to save publishers from themselves. The aforementioned book had about 18 spelling mistakes, every one of them being the wrong word, but since each mistake was actually another correctly spelled word, the computer doesn’t pick up on it. For example, someone “poured” over a book. As a self-confessed bookworm, let me tell you that if someone pours anything onto one of my books, I might just injure that person. However, if they want to “pore” over one of my books, then that’s just fine. As long as they don’t break the book’s spine, which is a cardinal sin.
Bad spellers of the world, the entrance of computers into your life does not exempt you from proofreading what you write. Yes, if you’re a blogger, there is no higher power (like an editor) looking down on you, and checking up on you. Your friends understand you, and that’s all that matters, right?
Well, not if you have even the slightest glimmer of an aspiration to become a published writer. If someone in the publishing industry looks through your blog’s work, what kind of impression will you give them? Especially when you write that you “through” a ball across the room, consider the cause and “affect”, trip over your own “feat”, and ask someone if they “wood” help you? Will they overlook you? Perhaps not, but do you really want to wager your future writing career on something that is easily corrected?
To close, I will remind you that I am not exempting myself from this issue. I rarely remember to proofread my own blog posts, because I’m quite confident of my spelling abilities. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect, though. On one memorable occasion, I complained in a post about the subject of bad spelling… and a friend of mine pointed out that I had spelled something wrong in that very post. Ouch. I hereby give you permission to point it out to me, if I do so in this post.
Pay attention to your spelling. Don’t make yourself look stupid. Give people a good impression of your writing skills. If you are capable of writing in any quantity, you should be able to write with quality, and spelling is included in that. What good is a marvelous plot, if you look like you didn’t graduate from elementary school? If I keep finding numerous, obvious spelling mistakes, I will stop reading. What’s to say that a publisher, editor, or writing scout (do they have those?) won’t do the same thing?