Linda Maye Adams

Software Makes Us Lazy


I remember when computers first came out (yeah, it’s dating me). Until then, I’d done all my writing either by hand or on a typewriter. Newsflash: I make the same types of “typos” when I write anything out by hand.

So the computer – absolutely! I didn’t have to spend hours retyping pages to correct the many typos, and make more typos to replace them. I didn’t have to fuss with correction fluid. I could just save the document, and then run (eventually) the spellcheck.

It’s a great tool, especially for writers, but I also find that it makes people generally lazy.

It also makes us busier, which is a strange combination to say the least.

It hit me the other day because I deal all the time with people who “trust the software.” They sign legal documents with barely a cursory glance (in some cases none), not even checking to see if what they’re signing is correct.

Imagine it’s a corporate timesheet program. It fills in the times automatically for you, eight hours a day, as a courtesy, but you have to make changes when you had a doctor’s appointment or took leave.

Yet, I’ve run into people who will somehow think the software connects to their brain and can tell they went on sick leave, so they will sign the document as is and then are puzzled when they find out its wrong.

“I thought (the software) was right!” they said.

Sigh.

When I started hearing about the massive amounts of submissions that agents were receiving, I wondered if the same problem existed. Part of being a writer involved the hard work of physically typing on a typewriter on a piece of paper. That was probably enough to scare aware some people who weren’t really serious.

But now the computer makes it easier. Too easy. Some people who would be discouraged by the amount of work a manual typewriter are writing books. They’re probably puzzled when they get rejections for multiple errors.

“But the spell check was turned on!”

Software is training us to rely on it, rather than to use it as a tool and rely on our brains.

4 Comments

  1. Editing takes work.

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    • Very true. I’m so glad for a copy editor for my stories because no matter how many times I can go over my stories, I never find everything. The worst culprits are when the word is spelled correctly, but the wrong word. Because of the way I read, it makes it hard to spot at all.

      Like

  2. livrancourt

    I get hung up on one of your points, because I didn’t start writing seriously till about five years ago. Does that make me less of a writer because I didn’t struggle with a typewriter & correction fluid? For better or for worse, I decided to ignore that concern, that it was just another way of sabotaging myself by undermining my own self confidence.

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    • It was just an example. I’m glad that computers can help me correct all my typos because there are some words I will always spell wrong, and I will always leave out this word or that word. But I also see the other side of this in my work. Like the guy who says he wants software X to send him a reminder when training is due, and then complain because the software is sending him a reminder and ignore it. I used to do a newsletter where we had to accept everything we received, and we got stuff where it was really apparent the person had typed it, saved it, attached it, and sent it. There is nothing like finding a sentence that’s 70 words long and is completely unreadable. I’ve actually had people say to me, “I thought (software name) was correct” as their reason for not checking when they were signing a legal document.

      Liked by 1 person

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