The Infamous Red Squiggly

Author: W. K. Hayes

Spell check, help or distraction?

Here is another wonderful night of not being able to sleep…yet, again. I finally crashed at 6:30am this morning after writing for sixteen and a half hours, only to wake right back up at 9:30am.

With today being January 1, 2011, I had promised myself I would focus more on getting a novel done for a special project, that has to be, done and by the end of the month. Unfortunately, my mind is far too tired to take on the project now and the spell check squiggles keeps distracting my tired mind.

Lucky for me, I am already halfway through the book and knocking out fifteen or sixteen more chapters should only take me a week. In turn, that will leave me a couple of weeks to go back and polish the book over before turning it in. Still, with my insomnia rearing its ugly head, I fear that rising up to the challenge may prove more difficult than I care for.

Over the years, I have come to learn that writing is not only about the passion for the art but is also about strict tenacity…and spell-check. For any of you writing using a word program, you have to admit; those little red-squiggly lines that pop are more annoying than anything else to a writer is. Granted, they may seem useful in serving their purpose but for the same reason, they are a distraction to us all.

I had considered going into the options and turning the spell-check off until the article or chapter was, written and was ready to be, edited. Actually, I tried that once. It seemed to take me forever to get through all those evil little things. Mix that with the fact I was, raised to, “clean as you go” and I quickly found me suffering through their existence by leaving them on.

Obviously, the solution would be for me to slow down and give myself more time to think about the words that I am writing but it has taken me years to train my fingers to type as fast as I can think and the idea of throwing that process in reverse does not seem very appealing to me.

Nevertheless, I would like to write a little program that would give me points for shooting those little distracters every time they appear. In addition, I am grateful that my word processing program has gotten better throughout the years at auto-correcting the mistakes as I work. Now, if only it could tell the difference between Add and Ad!

I cannot resist…I have to tell the quick story about that. I built nine websites in a single week and began making commercials for them to post online. Everything seemed to be going great until I sat back, watched the completed videos and realized that, in every one of them, the banner’s read, “Place your ADD here”. Yea...I did that and to this day, I still kid myself about my inability to spell a two-letter word.

On a serious note, if the grammar and spell checks are getting on your nerves, or are overly distracting, go into options and turn them off until you are done. You can always turn them back on when you begin the editing process. However, I will warn you, do not be surprised if you article or chapter looks like a crayon convention.

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