Okay, I have a handful of spelling demons -- words I cannot spell correctly without looking up:
1) occurred (I never can remember if it's one "r" or two)
2) occasional ( I want to add an extra '"s")
3) committed (I can't remember if it's one or two "t's")
Because I know that people have spelling demons (and many schools didn't teach spelling for many years), I'm pretty forgiving of spelling mistakes in my students' papers, etc., although I do make them get a dictionary and fix them.
I hate spelling errors in something that is for public reading.
Like a letter going out from my school to parents. I saw one come in over the fax line while I was in the office the other day. I wanted to grab it and take a red pen to it, or retype it, or something before it went out to hundreds of people.
What set me off this morning was a blog post by a multi-published author. Yes, yes, I know, blogs are informal forms of communication. But mispelling "lightning" and "losing"?
By the way, "lightning" is the correct spelling for that "large-scale, high-tension natural electric discharge in the atmosphere." "Lightening" is when something is growing lighter or brighter. They are not interchangeable.
"Losing" -- participial form of "lose" meaning unable to find or maintain or keep something. "Loosing"? Means to set free or let loose.
Why did this set me off? Because I cannot tell you the number of times I see those two spelling errors. And not in student papers. The local newspaper. Excerpts posted by authors. Blogs posted by authors.
See where I'm going? If you're going to write at a professional level, you have to learn how to spell, how to use similar-spelling and/or similar-sounding words correctly (affect vs. effect, anyone?), how to use a dictionary for those words that are your personal spelling demons. Because, as we all know, spellcheck will not catch words spelled correctly but used incorrectly.
I'm not saying your writing has to be perfect (there's a reason I won't assign a grade higher than 95 to a piece of writing in my classroom), but but what we put out there as authors should be darn close.
Rant finished. Going for coffee now.