Written to perfection

courtesy of teachingauthors.com

I take great pride in my writing ability.  By no means am I the greatest writer out there, I’ll save that title for the pros, but I do enjoy writing and editing almost as much as I enjoy chocolate.  I said almost.

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with perfection in my writing: spelling, grammar, complete sentences, punctuation, even the way my writing looks.  Let me tell you, second grade was probably my least favorite year for writing – cursive!  Ugh!  Getting those letters just right seemed impossible.  I would write, and re-write, and re-write until I was satisfied with how my letters looked.  (I soon began to hate the cursive lowercase “s” more than anything…my first name has two of them).  I was so concerned with the way my letters looked that I would erase holes in my papers.  It didn’t take long for my pencil erasers to disappear, leaving me with no choice but to use the colorful replacement erasers (and don’t even get me started on the agony caused by those pink and purple eraser streaks left on my homework!)

This need for perfect writing has most definitely followed me into adulthood.  I can’t so much as send a one-liner text message without spell checking first, let alone send an email, give a birthday card, mail a letter to grandma, or publish this post!  I bet on average I re-read a single written work about 5-10 times before releasing it to the world, depending on its importance (text message being very low, blog posts about perfection in writing being very high).

At first I thought I was just a great English student.  But after seeing all the horrible writing floating around out there – even by “great” students – I knew I was probably a little over-the-top.  I found this useful website that helps explain my compulsive checking.  (Note: I fall into several of the compulsive checking categories listed on this site, which I’ll share in due time).  It’s not that I’m just concerned about writing properly or spelling words correctly.  It makes me extremely anxious to have mistakes in my work.  My chest feels tight, my heart rate increases, and I feel compelled, obligated, required to correct them.  If I know they’re there, I want to fix them.  Immediately. 

I check for everything – spelling, grammar, flow, capitalization, word usage, punctuation, overall tone, repeated words, and on and on.  The best is when I catch a word that is spelled correctly, but used in the wrong place.  For example, if I type “fore” instead of “four.”  I love catching those errors, it validates my effort.   I’ll re-write words, sentences, and even whole paragraphs until they sound just how I want them.  It is not uncommon for me to review an email, even to a friend or family member, about 3 or 4 times before sending it, and then open it up in my Sent file to re-read it again.  This allows me to view it as the recipient will see it. 

I have gone through this process with every post on this blog.  I’ll write, re-write, preview, make corrections, preview again…sometimes I’ll even have the editing screen and preview screen up at the same time so I can compare them to each other (like I am currently doing for this post).  After I am satisfied, I’ll publish, then always go back and open the blog via its main URL to view it as you would.  It takes frickin’ forever.  But it’s worth it, because it’s written to perfection.