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