The Evils of Spell Check

The ability to write well is a craft that all are encouraged to learn, and few are truly able to master.  As a burgeoning writer, I consider myself to be a mixture of the two: I am able to shape, but not yet capable of reinvention.  I am a word artist, a student of the English language – a wordsmith.  Much like a blacksmith strives to keep their finished products free of blemishes or grain in the metal, I work hard at keeping my published work as error free as possible.  This process of editing that I subject all of my written work to (even my text messages) has strengthened my observation skills, improved my relationship with prose, and, most importantly, fostered a strong hatred of the dreaded spell check.

How many others have allowed spell check to run amok with their work, only to dismay over all of the errors that it did not catch, or the ones it created in its attempt to “fix” your spelling and grammatical errors?  “There” is not “their” is not “they’re” – and “its” can be “it’s”, but only when “it is”.  I have gotten into the habit of turning off the spell check feature on my word processing programs, so irritating do I find its “help”.  Unfortunately, I often find examples of authors depending on spell check to be their wingman – their editor.  For some, this correcting feature is the only thing that separates their raw work from the finished product.  Spell check should not be used only as a formatting crutch, but as a small part of the overall editing process.  When it comes to my own editing, I like to employ the tried and true method of rereading my own work aloud.  It is only when I am satisfied with my finished product that I allow spell check free rein and monitor the suggested changes.  How do you edit your work?  Is spell check your bane or boon?