On How I Accidentally Deactivated Spellcheck and Why I’m Not Going Back

Note on spelling and writing; my spelling isn’t bad, there are a handful of words I spell weirdly (like the word separately) so most of my mistakes come from typing too quickly. 

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About a week ago now, I created a new user on my laptop called ‘Work’ (read about it here) and, upon opening Scrivener, I found that the program had pretty much reset itself. Now I’ve never really been ‘good’ at technology and I’m incredibly impatient so, as you can expect, I fiddled around a bit before declaring the program good to go.

I wrote over 3,000 words in that first session.

Amazing, I thought to myself, maybe that’s all I needed, the opportunity to sit down and do nothing but write. But then I noticed something else; the writing had flowed, so much so I would have expected to see a sea of red squiggly lines but there was not one on the page.

Not one! 

Now what’s more likely? That I failed to misspell a single word whilst writing non-stop for 3,000 words or I, somehow, managed to deactivate the spellcheck? Upon reading the first couple of paragraphs it became evident that the latter had occurred. 

I probably should have gone back then and there, reactivated spellcheck and combed through my writing, fixing all the misspelled or badly typed (with punctuation accidentally inserted) words. That would have made sense. But no, I logged off that user, and my computer as a whole, and went to sleep.

In the morning I went onto Scrivener again and reactivated spellcheck. Fortunately, the words I’d written the other day were contained within their respective chapters, and as I was about to begin a new one, I wasn’t subject to the angry squiggles.

I started typing and it became very clear just how often I misspell or mistype things. 

It got to the point where I found myself backtracking at least every fourth word to correct something. I’ve a feeling this was because I was hyperconscious of it all but at the same time it was incredibly frustrating to lose ‘the flow’.

So I deactivated it and got about 2,000 words written easy.

Tried again the next day; 3,000 words were written with no significant issues.

I’m not saying this is what happened each and every time I sat down to write, I know for a fact that on the 8th of June I barely managed to write 34 words, but that was more of a time related issue than anything.

And I was sold; spelling, I decided, was holding me back. If I were on a typewrite or writing by hand, I wouldn’t notice my spelling (or lack of it), so why should I be subject to it now just because I have a laptop?

I will probably regret this but for the time being the words are flowing, and that’s all that matters. The first draft of anything, after all, is pretty much required to be shit, and, once I’ve finished writing it, I’ll get the opportunity to read over it and fix up the spelling (and perhaps the odd scene or two) before printing it.

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything in full, I’m almost beyond caring how things get written as long as they get written and are there on the page. I’m gearing up to hit 20,000 words within the next couple of days which is beyond exciting; 20,000 words!

How is your writing going? Have you ever accidentally (or on purpose) deactivated spellcheck? If so, what did you find? If not, have you thought about giving it a go? 

Janna

The wonderful photo in this post is from the lovely Wendy.

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10 thoughts on “On How I Accidentally Deactivated Spellcheck and Why I’m Not Going Back

  1. theconstantvoice says:

    I used to be terrible at having to go back and correct things with squiggles but I like to think I’m training myself to be better…

    Well done on the words! The most important thing is getting that first draft down. Then it can be edited and refined and sweated over 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • jannakaixer says:

      Thank you for your comment! That’s great to hear although that’s where I ran into trouble – I would correct things with squiggles straight away which ended up really slowed me down.

      Thank you! It really is, though it’s so hard to forget that, at this stage, that’s all you really need to do. I read somewhere that all first drafts are perfect when they’re finished because they’re written, and that’s all they need to be. Exactly! ‘You can’t edit a blank page’.

      Thanks again!

      Janna

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Melfka says:

    Interesting, though I don’t know if it’d work for me. I misspell less, and usually these are things that spellcheck will not not pick up, like “too” instead of “two”, so the spellcheck doesn’t disturb my flow. Moreover, when I’m about to spell some challenging word, I prefer spellcheck to underline it, so I can fix it on the go rather than looking up the spelling in the dictionary (because it WILL be killing me).
    But if switching it off works for you and helps to get the words down, go for it! You can always activate it back when it’s editing time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jannakaixer says:

      Thank you for your comment! Oh I see, I can see how spellcheck wouldn’t bother you in that case! I’m quite good with those little misspellings that spellcheck won’t pick up, it’s more typos that get me down and they most definitely disrupt my flow. My vocabulary hasn’t really grown in recent years which is absolutely awful, but it means I’m confident spelling the words I know although there are ones I always get wrong.

      It appears to work, but we’ll see! It’ll be a right pain to edit, that’s for sure, but this is only the first draft; I’ll probably switch it back on for when I write the second and third drafts. Exactly!

      Thanks again!

      Janna

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  3. Vivien Reis says:

    Interesting observation! I might adopt this technique for July’s Camp NaNo. Just last night I stopped numerous times to go back and correct my misspelled words, so I know it definitely has slowed me down. Great tip!

    Like

    • jannakaixer says:

      Thank you! You should give it a go although do bear in mind the potentially extremely painful editing you might have to do at the end of it – I don’t regret turning off the spellcheck that second time, but I am questioning whether or not I’ll have the patience to go through and correct my mistakes. I guess if you are the kind to read back on your work before each session then this could be really handy; you could just fix it up as you read what you wrote the day before. There’s lots to think about!

      Thank you for your comment!

      Janna

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      • Vivien Reis says:

        Very true, I might try to adopt an “Editing Day” and force myself not to look at anything else. I can barely look at what I wrote the day before without diving into editing, which might bite me in the butt with NaNo 😦 We’ll see if I stick with the editing day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • jannakaixer says:

        That’s a good idea! Oh no, that sounds tough! I can’t bear to look back on what I’ve written; I’m terrified it’ll be so awful I’ll be put off writing it and it’ll never get done. I did read some of my current WiP’s introduction to my sister today though and it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be which was a major relief!

        I’ll let you know how hard it is to go through the document and fix the misspellings when I get there which should be, if all goes well, around the 27th of this month – just in time to let me start a new project for camp! But I’m sure if you have one day a week or every couple of days to go through what you’ve written and fix things up, all will go well!

        Janna

        Liked by 1 person

  4. AbsentElemental says:

    I’m a decent speller but a terrible typer. This creates quite a few problems for me when I go to write, especially when it comes to misspellings. Fixing my typos as I go has become so commonplace for me that I wonder if turning off spellcheck would have any impact on how I write. That said, I’m already a bit paranoid that my blog posts won’t look polished when I put them up. As a result, I’m hesitant to try this experiment you’ve tried.

    Like

    • jannakaixer says:

      Ah, I can imagine! I’m an okay speller and a good typer so I can sort of get away with doing things like this though combing through it to fix my errors will probably give me a headache! Perhaps because you’ve become so accustomed to it, it wouldn’t change anything for you but you’ll never know unless you try! Oh I know what you mean! I’d never do it for my blog posts as I tend to post them the day after I write them if not the day of and pushing that ‘publish’ button has to be one of the hardest things I do daily. Maybe give it a go with some of the more creative things your working on like short stories?

      Thanks for the wonderful comment!

      Janna

      Like

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