You work hard on a post for hours. You choose your words very carefully. You make sure that the rhythm of the words is just so to deliver that emotional punch, or punch line depending on the tone of the piece. You revise it. Then you revise it again. Sometimes you even sleep on it. Finally you are ready. You take a deep breath, you swallow back your insecurity, and you hit the publish button. The world can see what you have poured your time and energy into; the masterpiece that you are now sharing with them.
Unfortunately, they can also see your typo. Sigh.
Typos are the bane of my existence. I can’t publish a blog without a typo. It’s like a law of nature or something. This goes for my Facebook Posts and comments, too. No matter what I write, no matter how many times I proof it, one will always slip through. This is definitely a theme in my life…I have a third, “happy surprise” child in my home.
Nearly every time I publish, I get a comment from my aunt or editor friend about the typos that I missed in my thorough proofing process. Yes, it’s the plural I’m afraid – the word typo rarely gets used in the singular as it pertains to my writing. It’s a condition I like to call Chronic Typo Syndrome. Since I know that both of my diligent proofers are reading this, I want them to know that I love and appreciate their keen eyes and to keep up the good work!
Typos can happen for lots of reasons. Sometimes they are because you forgot the rules of the language. Sometimes they happen because you hurried the post. This is usually the case with my posts. Sometimes it’s because Word didn’t catch it…although as I said in my earlier post, you can’t depend on Word to catch all your mistakes. How many times have you had a “form” make it through the spell check even though the word you meant to use was “from?” In Word’s defense, form was spelled correctly.
If you are like me and suffer from Chronic Typo Syndrome, here are the tips I have for catching typos (I know, taking advice from the typo queen about how to catch typos is counterintuitive, but hear me out):
Tip #1: Know your shortcomings: Figure out what your common mistakes are and be on vigilant look out for them. For me it is the aforementioned form/from substitution and also the it’s/its switcheroo (There are actually quite a few more but I have work to do today so I decided to limit my example to these two.).
Tip #2: Print it out: I know. This isn’t great for the environment or even possible if you are working in your “satellite” office (read: Starbucks). But sometimes seeing it in good old-fashioned black and white on paper can help you spot what you are missing on the screen. Use recycled paper if you are worried about the trees.
Tip #3: Read it out loud: This one takes time and feels silly, particularly when there is no one there to hear you (does it make any sound?). But it is a great way to see what you actually said instead of what you thought you said. I’m sure this is because reading out loud comes from a different part of your brain than when you read it silently or something.
Tip#4: Sleep on it. This one is hard for me since once I have an idea I just can’t wait to share it. But every time I give myself a day to sleep on it, the post is always better for it. If you saw the video I posted earlier this week, then you know that this is something that “Jonathan” always does when he writes.
I don’t send my stuff to an editor. I look forward to the day when someone who is a far better proofer than I can catch these embarrassing little snafus before I publish them. But until then, I will rely on my family and friends to set me straight.
For the record I have proofed this 1000 times, so if there is a typo, I give up. It was fate.