Ignoring school writing lesson #2…the truth about spelling!

The deeper I get into professional writing, the more I realize I’m busily “unlearning” rules from my school days. The second rule I heard growing up was that you should spell things correctly when you’re writing. Nope. Calm down, teachers. Hear me out! You absolutely have to spell things correctly when you’re editing and revising and that final copy had better have some impeccable spelling and grammar sprinkled throughout, but the time for that is not when the words are flying fast and furious and the writer is in the middle of a creative explosion. As a matter of fact, concentrating on perfect spelling while you’re drafting stymies the creative flow and slows down the process. I tell my third graders to do the same thing I do. Write like crazy! Don’t worry about that spelling. Circle the word if you think you’ve botched it and MOVE ON! We’ll get to that next step of perfecting the spelling later. To this day, I cannot seem to spell the word rhthm? rythm? Rithim? Oy! It defeats me, but I don’t let it stop me. I soldier on and make sure that the final product is going to be spelled correctly (once I have the rhythm down!)☺

What kind of spelling instruction did you have in school? Did you like it? Benefit from it? Do share.book cover

8 responses to this post.

  1. I love to point out to literature students how early rules about spelling were arbitrary at best. It’s not spelling so much as the principle of rules that we could positively free some of these students from. Thanks for this.

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  2. Darn, I always want to put the “gh” together or leave out the “n”, or even stick and “a” in there. It’s aweful. Are there certain words you seem to have a mental block about? I definately do have to ignore misspellings in first draft.

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  3. One word that always trips me up is strenght. Did I get it right?

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  4. Posted by EllenToo on August 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    It has been so looooong since I was in school and worrying about spelling I don’t remember what kind of instruction I had in school but I suspect it was the old traditional “spell it right the first time” type of instruction and doubt very seriously I benefited from it.

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