Fixing flaws might require help
Posted by Meg Bear on October 27, 2009
Amy’s post suggested that we cannot actually ignore our flaws, if they are holding us back, we have to fix them. I’m sure we all know that is hard.
I have recently decided that one of the reasons it’s hard, is that we keep trying to fix the problem the same way, decide it doesn’t work, and get into a frustration loop.
To illustrate my point, I have another great “Meg can be clueless sometimes” story. What can I say? As the heroine in my own novel, I’m a walking wealth of material.
One of the problems with blogging, is that people might expect you to have decent grasp of grammar. In my case, I have two fundamental issues with grammar, well, other than never actually “getting it”.
First, I am a bad speller. This isn’t too big of a problem since there is spellcheck. This catches the majority of the issues for me and the rest I blame on typos.
Second, I forget things like commas. This I [mostly] solve by adding a lot of them randomly prior to publish, hoping no one will notice those that are misplaced and/or missing. [Seriously, the edit process for me typically involves inserting a handful of commas and hoping for the best].
Here is the problem, sometimes flaws sneak out even when we try to mask them. One of my grammar problems was kindly pointed out to me by my buddy Marcie. The problem was, my seeming lack of comprehension of a difference between then and than. Well more accurately, I didn’t seem to realize there were two different words, I only seemed to acknowledge the existence of then [since all coders know it could never be if/than (!)]. Marcie was even nice enough to give me dictionary links to both words, attempting to help me fix this problem.
OK, so now I knew of a problem and was intent to fix it, but I soon realized that the definitions didn’t help me.
In an attempt do something, I first tried getting comfortable with the word than. Since it had been under served in the past, I promoted it to prime time and used it instead. Interestingly, more people noticed that mistake (I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has this problem) and now I was getting more frequent you keep using that word notes.
As I do, I started to ask for more people to help me figure this out (and fix it) and my buddy Louise, made an interesting observation that: Americans pronunciation of then and than are almost identical.
As an auditory learner, I have actually managed to merge the two words into one in my own head. In fact, the majority of my spelling problems are not really phonics problems as I had always thought, they are pronunciation problems.
When I started hearing Louise’s voice saying then vs. than in my head (yes there are a LOT of voices in my head, don’t judge!) I was on my way to being fixed. I now read the word correctly, and therefore have context understanding that I can use to my benefit.
The point of this post, is not to bore you with the inner workings of the voices in my head, but to suggest that sorting out the root of the problem, for you, can be very helpful in finding a fix that actually works.
Odds are, the only way you can get to that is getting observations from others, since you are probably not aware of what you are doing in the first place. Just more evidence that you really do need a team you to help you succeed.
Oh, and now that I’m on to this pronounciation thing, I’m going to take another swing at affect vs. effect (which both sound like uh-fect in my world). I’m going to give them a long “a” and a long “e” sound and see if I can’t suss out a way to ever use the word affect correctly. Can’t hurt to try.