Tyops: The art of making mistakes.


When perfectionism & urgency sabotage each other:

I was watching an awesome talk on Creative Live (really cool site). It was about social networking. One of the speakers was photographer CC Chapman. He was talking about using imagery as part of content creation, and I was taking a bazillion notes.

He tackled a pain point for bloggers... the need to consistently keep sharing and to be yourself in every post. He talked about how it feels really scary to expose your real personality, and the trick to cutting yourself some slack.

I loved what he was saying.

Something he addressed was a critical topic for many content creators: typos.

I always thought of myself as decently proficient with language. I would be the first person to point out any mistakes I found. Now, I'm writing content for a living, and perhaps I need to eat some of those words... whether or not they are typed or spelled correctly!

It's a challenge.

I try to use phrases and words properly, and I do my best to avoid misspellings. Fact is, it really takes a second pair of eyes to notice things like typos. Even after several reads, I invariably miss something.

But what if you don't have an editor?

What if, like me, you need to put content out nearly every day, quickly? Tweets, Facebook posts, blog articles, white papers, etc. 

Do other people even care?

With texting culture glorifying the thumb typer and single finger plucker, with autocorrect having a bigger web presence than most legit bloggers, with the rapid dictionary adoption of jargon and tech speak, and with the slacking attention to formalized grammar, it feels like proper writing is a losing battle.

Even with spell checking tools on our side, mistakes slip through the cracks.


Are we letting it slide, or is it actually that we aren't noticing? I mean... take the example below. We have the ability to compensate for so much with our tricky and clever brains!

You may have seen this floating around the Internet in one of its iterations:

I grabbed this from Brain Oddities: Spelling is Irrelevant to Comprehension on The Big Picture.

Apparently, we are trained so well for comprehension, we don't even need things to be correct! We see what we want to see. This especially goes for the author of the content, since he or she knows what was intended to be there even if words are wrong or outright missing.

According to studies, it may be more likely than we think that readers do the same.

People tend to fall into different camps: some champion perfect form and the preservation of our language at its highest level of accuracy, others are all for message over form, and even more yet lobby for reinventing the rules entirely! But, that's a conversation for a different post.

For those of us just trying to get content out...

How can one live with the inevitable typo?

CC Chapman said something in his presentation that shook the foundation of my thinking when it comes to blogging. He said he learned to accept typos (to an extent). He forgave himself.

He said he was open with his readers and fans, and simply made an effort to correct his mistakes. Someone would point one out, and he'd amend it, or acknowledge it, and move on.


Perhaps, I could stand to be a little more forgiving to others myself.

After all, my own book EPIC FAIL super win has still got errors in it. The occasional "and and" or "the the" mistake, a missing bit of punctuation here and there, some misuses of ," and ", sprinkled here and there. Before it was submitted for press, the PDF version had dozens more... and this book had been read through by 3 people besides me for proofing, and each chapter was reviewed and approved by the contributors in the book!

As a DIY writer publishing for the first time, these mistakes were part of my learning process. I now see that getting an editor or at least a professional proofreader is critical for something as final as a book. Still... I regularly see typos in publications produced by full teams of professionals! So, I guess the real question is:

Should we lose sleep over it?

I don't know! Tell me what you think!

What are your thoughts on the infamous typo?

Let me know on Twitter @serenaandrews Hashtag: #tyops