Me? I never make typus. But I’m pisitive that some of you do.
OK, yeah, I know, hilarious.
But, here’s the deal.
First: I want to make a strong distinction between typos an spelling errors. If you have been at your craft for any length of time—especially if you’ve been blogging, or commenting on blogs, or even “better” write a lot of emails—you are aware of that wonderful, sinking feeling when you hit the SEND button and as the document wings away from you, you catch a glaring error.
I HATE that.
Now, I want you to think about what is really happening: You type fast (I’ve made several typos in this post already, and I THINK I’ve fixed them all, but time will tell), and sometimes a weak finder, or a key miss will cause an error, one that you do not “feel” as it happens.
Sidebar: Isn’t it true that you FEEL many of the typos you make as you make them? Those are the ones that can be fixed. Others, those that you do not feel when they happen, they’re the killers.
Second: Let’s up the ante a bit. There are two kinds of typos. Those which are clearly a mistype, and those which look as though they may be a misspelling.
Sidebar 2: using a homophone (a word that sounds like the word you meant, to for too, their for they’re, or your for you’re) doesn’t count as a typo even if it happens unbeknownst to you. This is a different type of problem. I discuss this in Finding Invisible Errors, an earlier post.
OK, did you catch that? I said there are two types of typos. Both either genuine clumsy finger errors, or issues with speed. Now, here’s the problem.
The kind of typo which looks like it may be a misspelling and the kind of error called a homophone both give the impression that you are an idiot.
Sorry, friends. There is no way around it.
Come on. Admit it. Even when you are reading the work of someone you know, and probably respect, when you see a blatant error that falls into this category, your first thought is “dumb ass”. Right?
OK, taking it on down…
Think on this. If you see the writing of people you respect, and find one of those iffy errors, AND have the intuition that they are perhaps not as smart as you thought… what do you believe people think when they see your errors of the same type?
But reverend! What can we do?
Glad you asked, brothers and sisters. Glad you asked.
Critique groups. Editing partners. Beta readers with an edge.
OK, fine. I don’t have a letter perfect answer… other than be vewy, vewy careful. And if you discover—even sadly, after the fact, and often—that these errors are getting by you, do one on one critiques with a friend. Offer your services and request theirs. A second set of eyes, especially if they are friendly eyes, and they understand the reason and the spirit of your request, may make all the difference.
DOWN WHIT TPYSO!
By teh way, can you find the typo in this post?