Many of you know that I am in the middle of formatting my manuscript before I give it to the publisher. I just did it again! I hit the space bar twice after that period. If you are under 40, you probably have no idea what the big idea is.
I got to page 16 of my Manuscript Prep Guide. Under Spacing with Punctuation it says, “Use just one space after all punctuation marks…”
I read that and wondered for a few seconds why it told me to do that. Seriously! I thought maybe it was a formatting rule. Not a general writing rule.
I did it again! I just put two spaces after a period.
Then, strangely, I saw a post on Linkedin by Eileen Burmeister posted the very same day – The rule stands: One space after a period. Period.
Here is one quote from her blog, “I have friends (mostly my age or older) who still swear by the double-space rule, and really, if their livelihoods don’t depend on it, who am I to judge? But the hard, cold truth is that it really is only one space.”
I tweeted last night that I was writing this blog. I enjoyed the replies:
- Many said, “I do that too!”
- “I will never stop doing that. It just looks better.”
- “I am not changing that! I am such a rebel.”
- “I double space so I can get the automated period.”
- One took the time to tell us all that a 1988 digital typology book instructed to use only one space after a period. (I say that book was well before it’s time!)
Some even begin to argue in fun which way was better. I never imagined that this would create so much interest or angst! But I agree with Eileen, if their livelihoods do not depend on it, who am I to judge?
The interesting thing to me is that I was so oblivious to this rule of writing change until I began to pursue writing as my career. If you knew about this, why have you not said something to me? Come on, that is like sitting across from me at lunch and not telling me that I have a piece of lettuce stuck in my teeth!
I began to wonder what my complete ignorance of this rule says about me. I came up with a few things:
- Things change all the time that go unnoticed. I notice and pay attention to things that are important to me. That is not all bad, but it reveals my heart. Things that are not important to me are not even on my radar screen.
- Like it or not, I am a creature of habit. I hit the backspace button many times writing this blog. This habit will take some time to break. What other habits do I have that are so engrained that I do them without a second thought. Which habits are good, and which ones do I need to change?
- Am able to learn new things? I can not ignore it any longer, I am getting older. Am I not only able but willing to learn, and if necessary, change? Or, will I hang on to old ways of doing things without any just cause?
Question for you? Yes, you guessed it. My question is the last one I asked myself. What are you refusing to change in your life just because? If that one is too personal, then feel free to point out all the places that I double spaced.