I am a person who has small things in life upon which to pride themselves, unless you count spending more than 1300 hours on Football Manager a life achievement. I therefore have to look to other sources for something to think of as a special talent, or a latent ability. I’ve always been good at writing, and as a byproduct, spelling and grammar.
Now though, a new villain has been engineering a way to separate me from even that simplest of comforts, that I can write well.
I can’t touch type and never have but I nevertheless have quite a fast typing speed, even considering that I still use the plodding index fingers-only method. However, on occasion, when I’m in full flow and when I am typing, for example, from a press release or something on another screen, I can often go long periods without looking at the keyboard.
That occurrence has now moved across to my everyday typing, especially in situations where I am distracted. What was once reserved for speed-writing articles I now use for Google searches and Facebook chats: here the problem lies.
When you try to type fast often you’ll make silly mistakes and words will often turn into a mess of consonants and punctuation. Google doesn’t mind that though and often will interpret what you type quite well, most times finding exactly what you’re looking for.
This type of Pavlovian training may seem useful at first, but I have found myself typing away into the that little search box oftentimes not even trying to write properly. A search for local restaurants becomes ‘restarents in hudnftingn’ and directions to the train station becomes ‘directioj from bruightn statuion to peri’. Google will buzz and spin and come back with “did you mean ‘directions from Brighton station to the pier’?” and I will happily click away, not even noticing the degradation of my own fastidious standards.
I only hope this won’t affect my actual writing, so that my pre-editing articles become massive blocks of squiggly red lines that I can just press a button to fix. I’m fairly sure the great writers of yesteryear never had a helpful hint to tell them their ‘e’ and ‘i’ were the wrong way around. Oscar Wilde would never have penned:
W2e are all in the gutetr, buts ome ofus are loodmign at the stas.
Then, in an editors note underneath:
Did you mean “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”?