Nowadays, I describe myself as a writer. Before I retired, most of my life I wore labels like broadcaster, program director, marketing director, executive, or manager. The trouble with the writer label is that I do not live up to reader expectations. True, I have written and published 11 books since retiring those other labels, but I am not an accomplished writer at this point. My books do not sell well. Part of the reason for that is because few people know they exist since they lack good marketing (a money issue) and/or they simply just aren’t that good. There is one bad aspect of my writing that I cannot excuse nor seem to correct…and that is, I am prone to making mistakes in the simple mechanics of writing. My spelling is not always correct. My typing is not always accurate. My ability to catch mistakes is weak. Yeah, all those things give me problems.
What I need is a good proofreader. I don’t see half my mistakes until long after I’ve exposed them to everyone. This often makes me look really inept. Part of the problem is when and how I write. I have a sleep disorder that scatters my snooze time throughout the day and night. It is not unusual to find me at the computer at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning catching up on e-mail, writing a posting for my blog or even tackling a chapter for a book I may be working on. Despite being awake, or appearing to be, I am usually sleepy all the time. It has become part of my life for many years now. I am almost narcoleptic in that I can fall asleep in the middle of writing a sentence or talking to someone on the phone…or even while peddling my bike around the neighborhood–yes, I actually did that!
My last posting on my blog, the one about losing weight, had so many mistakes in it I was embarrassed having published it. I must have read it at least a dozen times and usually missed seeing a few typos or outright misspellings on each pass. Am I too much in a hurry? Guilty. I am hyper by nature and tend to do things too quickly. Do I run spell-check? Yes, I run spell-check, so imagine how bad things were from the very start. I have learned that you cannot always trust spell-check to do the right thing. Add to that dilemma, the auto-fill or auto-correct functions that Microsoft refuses to allow me to disengage permanently. It will often finish a word I am typing with a word I had no intention of using. In this last, the one right before this one, the computer auto-filled the word “word,” replacing the “d” with a “k.” This time I caught it; many times I don’t.
Earlier I submitted an advertisement to amazon for one of my books. The ad would appear on Kindle units and would push the Kindle version of my book titled, AGAIN. These particular ads are limited in space, most of which is taken up by an image of the book’s cover. The author writes a brief bit of copy that goes under the illustration. I wrote one sentence. It was rejected. No, there were no spelling errors. The reasons given: “The ad contains inappropriate capitalization and should be sentence-cased.” I began the ad with the familiar term “WHAT IF…” True, I capitalized those first two words merely to “showcase” the premise of what I was about to say. I suspect it was a computer making the call. The computer doesn’t understand showcasing. And, I have no idea what their Grammar Nazi reference to “sentence-cased” means. It is pretty bad when you’ve been writing commercial and promotional copy all your life and someones rejects your one-sentence submission. Go figure.
So where I am going with all this is to apologize to my readers. I am sorry there are often inexcusable errors in my work. It is not intentional and I have lots of personal angst putting up with the problem. Lately, I’ve been trying to let it go–just roll with the flow and stop beating myself up over it. Easier said than done. I am compulsive, competitive and shooting for competent. My aim is just not perfected yet…and may never be. Still, I hope you get something out of what I have to say, not necessarily how I spell it.