A negative blog title for sure, but there’s a reason. The other day I got a lovely GIF from an absolutely lovely friend with a birthday wish. The GIF was funny, so I texted back right away. The beginning of my text was ” HAHAHAHAH”. Or it was supposed to be. Somehow my finger slipped and I wound up typing this “HAHAHAHAHFGAHA” Since I was in the grocery store at the time and not paying attention, the autocorrect feature on my phone changed what I wrote to something Horrible. Truly. A word that I never use, hate to hear, and wish didn’t exist. I’m not going to write the word because I hate it so much but look at this HAHAHAHAHAHFGAHA and try to figure it out for yourself. I have no excuse except I wasn’t paying the attention I should have been before I hit the SEND button.
Needless to say, when the friend who received the text saw what was written, the word that was added, that person was hurt, mad, and probably a million other emotions I can’t begin to imagine. Saying I’m sorry doesn’t seem enough. Not really. I hurt this person – something I would never do, consciously or intentionally and for that I am to blame for not checking before I hit send.
Why am I blogging about this? The reasons vary but the main one ( aside from owning that I did something so stupid!) is because, as writers, I think we need to pay closer attention than ever before when we send something out to an editor, an agent, a publisher. Check everything. Every line. Every word. Every punctuation mark, to ensure what you have written is what you want to send. For my indie friends who self-publish this is uber important. I’ve read two self-published books lately ( not from friends!!) where I spotted several incorrect word uses, punctuation problems, and even missing words. Traditionally published authors need to be hyper-vigilant, too, esp. before copy edits come out. I read an ARC from a very well known writer recently that I won in a GOOD READS contest and there were quite a few sloppy edits. I know this will probably ( hopefully) be fixed in the final copy before widespread release, but you never know.
As writers, we want to not only make sure our words are correct – that they are truly the words we meant to pen – but that we are making the impression we want to make. What does it say to a Literary Agents who reads a manuscript that has numerous typos, misspellings, and incorrect grammar use? One thing it tells her/him is that representation won’t be coming from them. Same with a publishing editor. A PE reads hundreds, if not thousands, of items per week. If she has two manuscripts, one filled with mistakes, one perfect, you can pretty much guarantee unless the imperfect one has the potential to be the next Harry Potter, she’s gonna pick door number 2. Do we really want our chances at publication to become a choice between a pretty perfect, clean manuscript, and one that…isn’t? I certainly don’t, and after this little incident I’m writing about here, I’m being ubercareful with everything I write then send.
I can catch mistakes much more readily when I type them on my laptop than when I type on my phone. My laptop doesn’t automatically correct words it thinks are wrongly used. My phone does. I simply keep forgetting that, which is why I need to be extra attentive when sending something from my phone.
Learn from my mistakes, people! Your phone doesn’t think for you- although it’s trying to. That’s the purpose of autocorrect in my humble opinion. DO NOT LET automation take over. I feel like we are closer to that day when robots rule the world than ever before. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic ( ya think?!)… but, just saying.
I truly long for the days when we actually wrote out messages in letters and on note cards. I believe we were better spellers, communicators, and interactors. We established eye contact with the person we were communicating with and were able to interact on a more human level, one to one.
Technology, though, is here to stay. Okay. So I’ll embrace it. But I’ll be checking it more and more to make sure what I want to say is what is actually being said and not CORRECTED by a non-sentient entity who can not emote, think for itself, and has no soul.