Typos. I’ve got ‘em – and far too many for me to be blasé about. My number one resolution of 2017 (as it pertains to this blog and my work as a writer) is to type right and improve my proof reading.
It pains me to no end reading a post published on this blog and seeing it has a typo, or worse, realising I sent a client a piece of writing with an honest oopsy or two included. Luckily with my blog I can correct and revise whenever I spot something wrong. With respect to writing for others, there’s not much I can do once I submit something. For consolation, I remind myself that I’m seeing more spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation errors when reading articles published in more established outlets. It’s shocking when I see a flub in, say, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, or The Economist. But it’s not as shocking as it used to be.
Big Media’s problems are probably similar to mine when it comes to mistakes in the text. Accelerated methods and expectations of publication, a bulging backlog, tight deadlines, limited resources, and a spellchecker that actually second guesses initially correct inputs: these factors and more amount to a situation where it’s easy to let the incorrect iteration of “to/too/two” or “they’re/there/their” let fly unnoticed. Recently I’ve noticed more typos in my work than before. I’m not sure if this means I’ve become a sloppier writer or that I’m doing a better job catching instances when I screw up. I hope it’s the latter. Whatever the case, poor copy is a reflection of me being overwhelmed.
My chief aim as a writer for 2017 is to reduce my typos to nearly none. I intend to accomplish this by doing the following:
- Being more selective with what I take on to write about in the first place;
- Carving out sufficient time to write and proofread;
- Reducing distractions (such as listening to podcasts, playing on social media, and multitasking) when I write;
- Making it regular practice to reread recent writing every few days; and
- When time permits, waiting to publish or submit work until I can reread it with a fresh set of eyes.
I do a lot of that already, of course, but too often as a second thought and not as a priority.
Compared to past resolution blog posts, this one is pretty dry. To be sure, I’m as ambitious as ever. However, I don’t want to keep taking on grand adventures if the result is churning out substandard writing. Last year, for my 2016 Resolutions, I wrote about creating a virtuous circle: seeing greater opportunities for greater jobs to come my way, while discovering more about myself in the process. To some extent I succeeded with that resolution over the past 12 months, and one thing I discovered about myself is that I’ve still got a ways to go becoming the writer I want to be.
By setting out to reduce errors in my writing, I see a chance to become a better writer (obviously) and (less obviously) to gauge how I’m doing with regards to managing workload, honouring opportunities and building on past successes.
Here’s to a typo-free 2017.