Myth Three: Every Writer is Perfect

 

We’ve been noticing that a lot of people think that every writer is born knowing how to spell a number of words perfectly and with perfect grammar. The Obsidian MythBusters are here to say: that’s not true. As we pointed out in Myth Two: Only Young Geniuses Create Art, artists achieve their fame through hard work. Writers learn grammar and spelling through reading and schooling, from fourth grade teachers and their spelling tests, and Shurley English lessons on an old overhead projector.

If writers were perfect, there would be no editors. As Emily Harstone says on Authors Publish, “I have never known a writer that did not make mistakes… The occasional error is inevitable, to pretend otherwise, or to judge writers when they make occasional mistakes, ignores the reality of the situation.”

This myth also extends into typing speed and penmanship. Yes, there are some writers who have marvelous handwriting and can type 60+ words per minute, but that is not a universal skill set. Writers work at their own pace – fast or slow, with or without spellcheck. The creativity will come. Keith Cronin of Writer Unboxed says, “I would conjecture that writers might care more about spelling, and thus might go to greater lengths to check their own accuracy. But I don’t believe all storytellers are born with a comprehensive knowledge of ‘I before E except after C’ and all its exceptions…”

Create as you wish, in your own time, and don’t force yourself to be perfect. Have other people check your writing, like an editor or friend, or step away from the piece for a time. Come back with a fresh eye to do your own editing before submitting it somewhere. Just remember that writing doesn’t have to be perfect, but the editing should be.