Sorry, my mistake…

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

This is so embarrassing. I mean, I really hate to admit it…. but I guess I should just go ahead and get it over with. So here goes nothing…

I’m not perfect.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

I know, I know. No one is. But I hold myself to ridiculously high standards. I always have.

So when I see a typo in a blog (or anything else I’ve written for that matter), I get pretty mad at myself. I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s embarrassing. It’s actually humiliating — and in my line of work, it can also be very costly.

Think about it — I provide writing and editing services for attorneys — so who on earth would want to hire me if they scrolled through my website and found a whole bunch of mistakes? Never mind, that’s a rhetorical question.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, though. As I said earlier, we all make mistakes. And usually I catch and correct my typos pretty quickly.  That in itself is pretty remarkable considering how our minds tend to play tricks on us when we are rereading our own copy.

Yes, I usually catch my bloopers straight away — but not always. Sometimes it takes a few hours — and sometimes it takes longer. It all depends on whether I read the material aloud as I am writing it, or if I am reading it to someone else after the fact.

One would think that the spell-checker (is spell-checker hyphenated?) or proofreading tool on a computer would help prevent the inevitable gaffes, bloopers, blunders and faux pas. Think again. These tools will help catch some spelling mistakes. They’ll help reduce grammatical errors. But the bottom line is, if a sentence with a mistake in it makes sense to the computer, the computer won’t even notice there’s something wrong.

Trust me. I speak from experience. Plenty of experience.

At least I know why I goof. Sometimes I forget to delete a word when I’m reworking a sentence. Sometimes I forget to delete unnecessary punctuation, as well. Sometimes, I realize that I’ve been using the passive voice (which I hate), but forget to change all of the language when I switch to the active voice. Sometimes I make mistakes when I’m overtired and sometimes my fingers just work faster than my brain. And let’s face it. Sometimes I’m just sloppy.

As I said earlier, no one is perfect.

Of course it would probably help if I let someone else edit my work. Another set of eyes is supposed to help. But I can’t afford to hire anyone right now and even if I could, I doubt I’d let them have editing privileges.

Yes, I’m a little bit of a control freak — especially when it comes to my writing. But as I said earlier, no one is… Never mind. I’m sure you get the point.

And anyhow, a second — or even a third — set of eyes doesn’t always help. I say this as someone who worked at newspapers for more than 20 years. Mistakes would often go unnoticed — even when we had editors and copy editors to review copy before the paper went “to bed.”

“Collectively we all felt like a bunch of asses afterwards…”

On one especially memorable (and humiliating) occasion, my editor wrote  a headline for a story about local beach pollution and the consultants hired to assess the situation. Only no one noticed that he left the last “s” out of the word “assess” until it was too late. Collectively we all felt like a bunch of asses afterwards…

Yes, that pains me to this day. But at least we weren’t alone. You can read about some real doozies here.

Hopefully I won’t make any terrible blunders — but if that does transpire, I am counting on you, my small but loyal band of followers, to let me know. All I ask is that you do so nicely. After all, we are all in this together.

You can also let me know how you feel about typos in general. Do you struggle with your own mistakes? Do you get upset when you see mistakes in other people’s copy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

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