Spelling is Ded

Give it another twenty, thirty years. Let those of us who care, who do the job interviews and hiring, who decide what gets published – give us time to die. Then you can declare spelling dead.

People complain, “Spelling / grammar / punctuation – I’m no good at it.” The implication is that we should overlook their mistakes since they admit that they make them. It’s like saying, “I’m a jerk. But since I recognize it, it’s okay!”

Spelling and grammar are not genetic traits; they are habits. I can hear you sighing. Habits are not popular things. They are 1) something you don’t want to do but feel like you should; or 2) things you do and feel guilty about. The amount of fun is limited in either case.

If you’re writing, you should care about spelling / grammar / punctuation. Wouldn’t you speak more clearly if someone said they couldn’t understand you? If you are expressing yourself, you should care about how others receive that expression.

I admit that English spelling is illogical, stupid, not based on phonetics, as the spelling of most languages is. It’s a bear. Kids graduate from high school unable to spell ‘immediately’ and ‘definitely.’ If they put spelling on the graduation test, we’d have to fail a lot of people.

Small commercial: this is why people should learn Latin. I have yet to meet a Latin student who hasn’t improved their spelling of English. Once you know what conjugation a verb belongs to, you will never again wonder, “Is it -ite or -ate?”

To be honest, I have little love for English spelling. But I do love the language, and accept the quirky spelling the way I put up with a lover’s annoying traits. It’s not worth arguing about there, their and they’re. Why get all bent out of shape over misapplied apostrophes?

When I was much younger, I thought it would be a good idea to divorce traditional spelling and learn the Shavian phonetic alphabet. With some practice, I got pretty good at it. The problem was that nobody was as enthusiastic as I was. Though everyone complained about spelling, nobody seemed willing to make an effort to change. Books and magazines were printed in standard English, so there wasn’t even anything to read except for my own notes.

That is life. Once you realize that people don’t change unless forced, you will be much happier. Spelling isn’t going to change, and people aren’t going to suddenly improve their spelling, so I might as well just accept it. Or except it.

Owed to the Spell Checker: More

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NaNoWriMo

I’ve passed 44000 words — I’m not ready to call this the homestretch, but it feels good to have just 6000 to go and 15 days to write them.
What I’ve been thinking about is this: What next?
Writing withdrawal is a definite possibility. After spending every day figuring out my 2000+ words, I will need something to keep me busy. I could do another NaNo, but I’m not sure the intensity of this month can be duplicated without the external structure of a competition.
Bad Habits: I had bad habits before I started NaNo, and they haven’t gone away. Using too many words to say things, abusing adverbs, dialog tags — all these are things I am aware of. I wonder what new flaws I will observe as I re-write this novel?
Good habits: I have disciplined myself, found time in every day to do this task. I have learned to view writing as a task, not waiting for the mood or inspiration to strike. I am my own muse.
Where does this all leave me?
I have a novel that will be finished by Friday, and in need of much revision.
I have a couple of novels in process which can benefit from some disciplined focus and organization.
To be a writer, you have to write. It’s a job. A really great job that hardly pays anything but makes me happy.

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