essays / Distractions, Essays, and Spellcheck

Does spell check hurt or help a writer today writing an essay. Is a full-blown word processor necessary for blotting thoughts upon a magnetic disc? Going back to simplicity and the basics can allow greater expression and less distraction while initially writing. Spellcheck is a great thing. It helps the many of us poor spellers, or the adventurous enough to attempt to use hard-to-spell large words within writing. On the other hand, though, it can be distracting to go back and fulfill the urge to remove that little red squiggly under the screen.

How many times has auto-correct, and its many variants, blotched your writing, auto-save deleting the writing? More than plenty, if you ask me. Typically, I write within a word processor, but recently I’ve started writing in a basic white-on-black text editor. It does this amazing thing of transcribing exactly what you type into it on the computer’s disc. No special formatting, no toolbar buttons, unnecessary text, no annoying autocorrect or spellcheck. Apple realizes that going back to the basics, simple and clean is the best way to go. Unnecessary and distracting features should be removed. Removing them helps improve spelling and writing, either after turning on spellcheck or moving it to a word document later to insert final stuff. For a first rough draft, though, getting text on the screen, a simple text editor provides many benefits.

A writer once lamented that computers are so useful to write on, can increase productivity, etc., but they are very distracting to the natural flow of thoughts, leaving discombobulated sentences and unconnected thoughts. Writing a whole thought down often takes time and thoughts, as everyone knows, are easy to forget.

Try it sometime, know the Control + S (Save), Control + Arrow Keys (Jump Words), F11 (Enter/Exit fullscreen), and turn off spellcheck. Use spellcheck manually by pressing F7, or turn it on when you’re done writing. Or, you can download and use a program called writeroom or its free variant called pyroom, and write, save the textfile.

My personal productivity has dramatically increased using a simpler text editor, after reading it over once or twice, moving the writing over to a full blown word processor (in my case OpenOffice), and formatting, correcting, spellchecking it. Correcting a paper should only be done once its written, not while its being written.