There, I’ve said it. My spelling is atrocious. It’s not a dirty secret, but I feel kind of foolish admitting it. If it wasn’t for my trusty dictionary half of what I write would be unintelligible and the other half would contain made up words. I’m exaggerating, but being a bad speller means time wasted checking words for correct spelling. So far I’ve checkedatrocious and unintelligible (I can never remember if it’s -ible or -able). Generally the -ible, -able rule goes something like this: if the root is not an independent word add -ible, otherwise add -able. Of course like every other linguistic rule in English there are exceptions (irritable, contemptible). For these you just have to memorise the correct spelling. Out of interest, the study of correct spelling is called othrography orthography.
The irony of my terrible spelling is that I have a degree with a minor in linguistics (my major was palaeoanthropology, which I have always been able to spell correctly). Essentially I know all the rules and I have a dozen books, which can remind me, but the bad habits still persist. Mostly that’s all it is – bad habit. I still trip up and write persuit even though I know the correct spelling is pursuit. I try to type as fast as I think so it’s quicker just to tack in mispelled misspelled words and hammer in the correct ones later.
Ultimately spelling in the first draft shouldn’t matter, since you must always edit everything you write. Still, the fact that I frequently stuff up the spelling of simple words irks me.