Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re busy working, and all of a sudden you come to a screeching halt in the story because you need to do a bit of research?
I do that all the time.
Even worse, do you – after pulling up your internet browser of choice – pick the site you want and start feverishly typing the web address, only to hit enter then actually focus on what you’d done and realize that you’ve typed a whole bunch of gibberish?
Yeah, I just did that.
I think the reason for it is that I’ve become spoiled by the auto-correct feature in most word processors. Ninety percent of my typos are easily repaired by the simple switching of letters or automatic updating of things from which I’ve left letters out. MS Word is my best friend when it comes to getting stories out, because it makes me appear a whole lot smarter than I really am.
Of course, this last time I looked up at the garbled mess I’d typed and wondered why it didn’t just fix itself… like the computer is supposed to just know what I’m doing. I’m the human here… the technology is supposed to do what I want, damn it!
Okay, okay… that’s a little too Terminator for our current reality, but hey… I can hope, right?
Anyway, my point is… no, not the one on top of my head… my point is that auto-correct is one of the best technological advances EVER when it comes to a literary career. I know it has saved me from countless embarrassing situations, just as I’m sure it has saved every other writer who has ever had the good fortune to use it. Plus, I like the fact that the version in my word processor is fully customizable… I have a tendency to use strange names, so adding the accent marks as an entry always helps when I’m typing. I don’t have to stop and use all the secret, finger-twisting codes to get the right characters. I can type the pre-marked word, hit the space bar, and move onto the next without fear of borking something. Plus, a manuscript that has been auto-corrected reads much easier than one that hasn’t.
Now if only I could transfer that technology to the rest of the world, I’d really be onto something.
Don’t get me wrong – there have been loads of times when I’ve mangled a word so badly that even auto-correct couldn’t find the right one, but even with it’s good-natured-yet-miserably-failing attempt at making me sound smarter, the word it chooses is still a real word, at least.
Small favors? I think so.