Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Importance of Spelling Names Right

A lot of advice for job hunters, writers, journalists and, well, anyone sending a professional message to another professional, is to make sure that you get the name right of whoever you are sending whatever it is to.

I live by this credo, and I avoid using names if I'm not sure how to spell it, and I even avoid asking how to pronounce someone's name. Because I remember in Kindergarden, getting an award for something or other (being a nice person, I think?) and they spelled my last name wrong.

On my award it said 'Samantha Gordon'. I could not stop crying.

I don't remember anything else about the award. I don't remember if they fixed it or who had mispelled it, but I remember thinking that the award wasn't for me. Despite that they meant to put my name on it, and it was just a typo. Despite that being quite some time ago, I still get annoyed at my name being misspelled. For example, my first name? Samie.

A very unusual spelling of my name, and I tend to be pretty lenient with people about how they spell it if they've only heard it or don't know me very well, but I get a little irked when I send someone an email, ending it with the proper spelling of my name, and they respond with it misspelled. I find it a little lazy, to be honest.

It always makes me wonder how much they read of my email if they misspelled my name. Especially if I introduced myself at the beginning as well as ending it with my name. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the biggest reason that I believe that it is a horrible idea to misspell someone's name.

It's insulting. Going back to being a child and not feeling I deserved the award, that really is the most basic way of describing it.

We define ourselves, in part, by our names, and if someone cannot take the time to spell our name right, they obviously do not think we're all that important in general.

Whether it's the person you're sending the resume to or the person you're sending your pitch to, if you don't spell their name right, they don't think that you are considering them important, so why should they take their time to even attempt to elevate your importance?

While not everyone will get upset about it, while I no longer will begrudge someone too much when they spell my name wrong, it still bugs me. One of my best friends does it, and while I tease him, I otherwise don't mention it to people.

But if I had to hire someone, and two people had similar credentials, spelling my name wrong may end up making the difference between hiring one person over the other.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lessons from Magic Beyond Words.

I wrote this some time ago, but felt like posting it now:
I have just finished watching Magic Beyond words and found it to be a truly touching movie. Inspiring and well, amazing. And, let's be honest here, it spoke to me. As both an avid Harry Potter fan and an aspiring fiction writing myself, I understand that hesitancy, that reluctance. I almost cried while watching the movie, only saving myself from hysterics from the mere fact that the rest of my family was there, and none of them were crying.

None of them, however, are writers. My brother the aspiring computer programer, my mother the sales woman, and my father the project manager. All very practical professions. And me, getting my English degree, trying to make a living as a freelance writer while also trying to get that damnedable novel out of my head and onto a piece of paper and making any sense.

One of the biggest points of the movie that I loved, and that really struck a chord with me is the idea that the story has to become real to the writer. It's true, it really really is. A story is just a story until it comes to life. I've talked to other writer friends of mine and when they really get a story going, it isn't until it comes to life. Usually it starts with the characters. The character comes to life, sits on your shoulder and comments on everything you do and say.

I have one character like that. Just one. Adrienne. She sits on my shoulder and tells me how SHE'D react in the situations I was in, what HER favourite colour is. I don't even ask, she just tells me. When I begin to write her, she takes control of what she does. When I created her, I wanted her to be a bit of a brat, but evolve into a proper heroine. That has yet to happen. In fact, she has shown such a disregard for heroics she can barely even be labeled as an anti-hero. And I love her for it.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I have been slow to update, partially because The Caffeinated Writer will now have a companion blog. While this one is for more professional endeavors, technical and creative writing tips, news about the writing profession and reviews of books about professional writing.

The Caffeinated Writer is designed to talk about the professional aspect of writing. Not only mine, but in general.

A Caffeinated Fantasy, The Caffeinated Writer's mirror site, is my personal writing blog. It includes any news about my personal fiction and poetry writing endeavors, and reviews of fiction novels.

There will be some times that I will link from one to the other as it applies.