I’m an awful speller. I always have been and knowing just how embarrassing a spelling error can be, I go through all sorts of craziness to prevent mistakes. I don’t just spell check, but I often check an online thesaurus to make sure I haven’t simply used a real word that looks a little like the word I intended to use.
Prior to spellcheck programs, a friend gave me a ‘misspeller dictionary.’ It was a brilliant, little book chuck full of ridiculous versions of commonly misspelled words. I kept it on my desk for years and eventually gave it to another lousy speller. I hope she passes it on when she finds a more effective protocol for blocking humiliating boo boos.
There’s a lot of fear dwelling in my mishaps and missteps, but is correct spelling still important? I’m not sure. We seem to be moving toward a time when there’s a great deal of leeway in this arena. Abbreviations and slang spellings R all over the web. Will they soon appear in long form text?
As a reader, I contend with the British English/American English spelling differences, made up words in fantasy & science fiction, and archaic words/spellings in historical novels. In a mystery set in Elizabethan England the first time “customs” appeared for customer, I thought it was a typo, but when it kept appearing I surmised from the context that it was a period word/spelling.
I’ve found spelling errors in ebooks put out by conventional publishers and by indie authors, too. No editor is going to catch ‘em all, but today I’m taking the question one step further… If the correct meaning is easily gleaned from the context, is the misspelled word so bad? I’m curious. As a reader or reader/writer, what do YOU think? Do spelling errors make you crazy?