Thursday, September 17, 2015

Eye Can Spel All by Myselph

Spellcheck, curse or comfort? All I know is that most of the time it gets in the way of my writing. How about you folks out there? Let’s say, just for example, that you want to write about a caveman named Thag. Here’s what happens on the silly-phone. First, it changed Thag to That. So, I backed up and tried again. This time it let me without complaining.

So, here’s the deal. We’re writers and we throw down a lot of words on the page. And we also know how to check for grammatical and speling errors. Like that one. Spell-check (or spellcheck or spell check, etc.) is a handy-dandy tool, but it’s no more than a hammer. A hammer on auto-pilot. Okay, that’s not the best analogy in the world, but you see what I mean. As writers we know to edit our work afterwards. When that predictive, intelli-sense, spelling doodad constantly tries to change our words while we’re writing, it interrupts the flow. If you have to go back and tell it that you want “lets” instead of “let’s”, then that’s throwing a log on the tracks. And I know that in my case if the writing train’s derailed, I’m gonna hear the siren song of Angry Birds, or go play with the cats.
Not only is it annoying when it predicts (or attempts to predict) what word you’re typing, but when the word it thinks you want pops up with the little ‘x’ symbol beside it, I inevitably poke the wrong thing and end up with the word I don’t want. Helpful not.

What to do?

Well, in my case, I have an iPhone 5, and after a bit of ‘net searching, I found that if you go into your Settings option, select General, then Keyboard. There you go. Now you’re where you need to be to tell the electronic beastie that you can spell (or not) all by yourself. A little suggestion, as I’ve played with the settings a little, and what I’ve seen on the ‘net differs slightly from what I’ve learned. They tell you that all you need to do is turn off the Check Spelling switch. Just turning that one off won’t keep it from changing your words. You need to turn off Check Spelling and Auto-Correction. That will keep it from changing your words as you type. There’s one more option, too. It’s the Predictive switch. If you turn that little rascal off, then it no longer will offer “helpful” suggestions as to what word you intend.

A word of caution, though. When you turn off both the Auto-Correction and Check Spelling options, then decide you want to turn them back on, you can turn the Auto-Correction back on, but the Check Spelling button disappears. Guess I made it angry when I turned it off. I did manage to get it back, though, by resetting all settings. But, truthfully, I don’t want the option anyway, so that’s fine with me if Check Spelling vanishes. My opinion—you’re a writer. You know how to look stuff up, and you probably have a whole editing process you go through, so just turn off all three things. I can use a dictionary.

Next, I’m gonna tackle the spell-thingy in my various flavors of word processors. I’ll report back with what I find. Once again, until I’m ready to crash-and-burn with full-out editing, grammaring, spelling, and revising, I just want to type, with no interference from HAL.

Keep writing, friends.

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