There’s an old joke that writers don’t need to be able to spell words correctly because that’s what editors are for. Many people are highly skilled at writing and are well-read but can’t spell to save their own lives. If you’re a crappy speller, this post is for you. First, you’re in good company. Lots of writers can’t spell.
Secondly, by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be armed with several helpful tips that can boost your spelling skills. This doesn’t mean that you should do away with having a professional editor review your work before submitting it for publishing. It does mean, however, that you might start to feel more confident in your own abilities, without relying on spell check all the time.
Crappy spellers should keep a list nearby when writing
If you know that there are certain words that you always spell incorrectly, write them down. Keep a running list nearby whenever you are writing. Instead of feeling frustrated or having to stop and look up the word, you can simply refer to your hard-to-spell word list.
Memorize basic spelling rules to become a better speller
Many people who struggle with spelling did not memorize basic rules as they were growing up. For example, do you know the spelling rule for adding suffixes that begin with vowels to words that end in a silent ‘e’? The rule states that you must first drop the ‘e’ before adding the suffix. In other words, to add the suffix “ible” to the word “response,” you would drop the ‘e’ so it becomes “responsible.” There are numerous other rules that are fairly easy to commit to memory, which can help crappy spellers improve their skills.
Mnemonics can help improve spelling skills
While the word itself is tricky to pronounce and spell, using the process of mnemonics (pronounced: new-mawn-ix) can boost your spelling skills. The way it works is to choose a word that you have difficulty with and assign words to every letter, to help you remember.
If you have trouble remembering how to spell “does,” for instance, you might assign the following mnemonics phrase to it: Daniel Often Eats Sandwiches. The next time you need to spell, call to mind your chosen phrase and take the first letter from every word. Voila! You have correctly spelled, “does.”
Become an avid reader to be a better speller
Not only will reading lots of books help you to improve your spelling skills, it will also make you a better writer. Becoming an avid reader is beneficial to your health in many ways, as well. As for spelling, the more you read, the more you can improve your skills.
Quizzes are not just for children
Take regular spelling quizzes to overcome your challenges. You can do this online or ask someone to quiz you verbally, at home, or to proctor a made-up written test for you. Either way, taking quizzes is definitely a great way to become a better speller. Before taking a quiz, create a spelling list and study it for several days. Write the words, say the words, spell the words as you write them out, letter by letter. Making this a habit will help you score well on your quizzes. Who knows? You might be able to do away with your spell check feature after a while!
Always check spelling before sending your work to an editor. This means less revisions will be needed. The less corrections you have to make on your manuscript, the sooner you can make your dream of publishing your book a reality!