#AtoZChallenge: W is for Writer’s Baggage



With Writer’s Baggage, I am not referring to those fancy, colourful suitcases people pull or carry around. Instead, I am trying to describe the kind of huge, heavy and horrible burden writers drag, like donkeys pulling carts full of unnecessary and unwanted goods, leaving a trace behind everywhere.

I am talking about a writer’s writing traits. In this particular case, I want to explore the words that a writer tends to spell wrong all the time. Obviously this is not a big problem if and when writers have professional editors and proofreaders to check out every detail of their writing. However, getting to know the mistakes we often and repeatedly make may help to correct them. Even better, it may shed light on some aspects of us as writers that are unknown or rarely shown.

I should present myself as an example here. Those who are familiar with my writing would know that I have a rather small vocabulary. Sometimes (I hope it is not often) they can even catch something awkward in my writing, something that is not technically wrong but “people just don’t say it that way”, to borrow the words (read: moans) of my best friend and beta reader. I also tend to mix up my prepositions. (There you go: I just confused “prepositions” with “propositions”.)

Some of the words I tend to spell wrong include “Massachusetts”, “Mediterranean” and “McCullough”. The last one is particularly annoying because the late Colleen McCullough was one of my favourite authors. I used to spell “eligibility”, “accommodation” and “pronunciation” wrong, but have since worked very hard to remember the correct spelling. Sometimes when I type too fast I can even misspell my own name.

To me, problems like this are an indicator that I am yet to have a good grasp of the English language. More importantly, because I believe all writers should take full responsibility for the words they write, a mistake is a serious offence to readers if it is not corrected. Which is why we need to edit our own writing, whenever and wherever we intend for it to be read by others. This is also the reason why self-publishing authors need professional editors and proofreaders — we simply cannot afford to make even one single tiny mistake.

I am yet to discover any self-published book that is without any mistake in spelling and/or grammar. Now, you may argue — and I will agree as a reader and translator — that traditionally published books have mistakes too, even after repeated editing and proofreading by various departments of their publishers. In the latter’s case, it is particularly annoying because, having sold their books, it is not easy for authors to right those wrongs.

Indeed, we all make mistakes, but self-publishing authors should try harder because we are on our own. One way to improve ourselves is to edit and proofread our writing at least one week after it is completed, just to cool down and give ourselves a fresh head. Another good idea is to have families and friends as beta readers, preferably two or three. If they are reluctant to do it, make them.

So, tell me, what are the words you often spell wrong? What other wonderful and/or embarrassing writing traits you can detect in your writing? (Ooops, just spelled “embarrassing” wrong… Sometimes it is good to have the auto-correct function of the word-processing software turned on, but it is also a good idea to check the mistakes it might make.)


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