So I was just looking through an old blog post. I do this from time to time, mostly to remind myself what I have and haven’t written about before (it’s easy to forget, because there are literally like a thousand posts because I’m a crazy person).
Anyway, as I skimmed, I found something.
A PUBLISHED TYPO? HERE??
I didn’t respond how a normal, sane person would, of course.
Any other person would just … you know … fix it.
Nah. I just left it there. And came here to tell you why.
The thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve caught a published mistake on a thing I wrote. Now if this were someone else’s (literal) domain, I’d fix it in half a second. But it’s not anybody else’s. It’s mine. Instead of correcting that typo that is probably going to continue bothering me for the next 24 hours, I’m going to use it as … don’t hate me for this … a teachable moment.
If I hadn’t started sort-of this blog when I was 16, I’m not sure I’d be where I am right now, writing-wise, I mean. The reason I recommend blogging to so many new aspiring writers is that blogging taught me, very early on, the most important lesson about writing professionally.
Sometimes, you just gosh darn SCREW UP.
AND I’M DONE PRETENDING THAT’S NOT NORMAL, Y’ALL.
We spend so. Much. Time. Trying. To make. Everything. Good.
And believe me — BELIEVE ME — I understand why, most of the time, you want your work to be spotless. Because it impresses people. Because you’re trying to show the world you know what you’re doing. I’m all for that. And everywhere but here, I do the same thing. My articles go through multiple layers of editing before they’re published (and thank God, because I type fast and I am a terrible self-editor).
But here, things are different.
The more this blog grows (hi new people! I just met you and I love you!), the more I feel a responsibility to be as real and down-to-earth as I can. See, I know what it’s like to read a published book by a renowned author and think, “I can never write like this. It’s so good. How could I ever even dream of writing something like this?”
The thing is, that book you’re reading is not the book that author wrote. At least, not the first draft. You can bet their first draft was, honestly, pretty terrible. I wish more writers would share their first drafts, typos and all. Because when I was 16, and I wanted to be a writer, I tried to be as good as their finished products. And I could never be. And that made me sad.
I leave typos as they are because I want any aspiring writer who stumbles into this mess that is my blog to see that though I write and publish many things, my writing is never perfect. I am a human being whose fingers sometimes hit the wrong keys, who sometimes tries making a list of 26 things and repeats the same item twice, who just tries her best because her best is always enough.
To many, this will make me sound extremely unprofessional. Leaving typographical errors up for the whole world to see. Well, fine. If that’s how they look at it, I can’t change their minds.
It’s not that I don’t want my blog to look clean. I am a perfectionist, after all, and every typo I find makes me a little nauseous, to be honest.
It’s just that I want people to know that I’m not faking it. Any of it. I’m not trying to be the perfect example of what a writer is supposed to be. Within reason, I’m leaving my dumb mistakes out in the open for everyone to cringe at, because THIS IS WHAT WRITING IS. Trying to do something well, and failing, and learning, and doing better next time.
So there. That’s it. I’m not perfect. Guess what? Neither are you. And that’s OK. That doesn’t make you any less of a writer. It does also reassure your readers that you’re not a robot. Probably.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.