Fear of Writing – The Typo and the Typo Pointer-Outer

typo-assholesTypos (and grammar concerns) terrify folks into paralysis when it comes to writing. What if I make a mistake? Use the wrong word? I don’t know where the commas go. Semi-colons?!?!? OMFG, kill me.

This fear keeps many folks who would otherwise be fantastic contributors to blogs, social media sites, and elsewhere from sharing insights and knowledge that others would find useful. I’ve seen people who successfully started and then ran large IT implementations run in fear from the idea of writing a 500 word blog post about their experience.

In so far as you only get better writing by writing (a lesson I’ve lived this past 18 months), fear of making a mistake is bad enough.

Worse is some pedantic ass munch pointing it out to you.

I commented on a friend’s Facebook feed yesterday and was wrapped on the knuckles by someone for you’re/your confusion.

This annoyed me for any number of reasons:

  1. I hate making that mistake — and typos/grammar booboos in general, even on social media.
  2. It’s fucking personal social media, lighten up chicky-poo.
  3. I don’t do that to other people, so long as I can understand what point they’re trying to make. Well, there are exceptions. I did have to correct the lovely and talented and one of my 3 favorite co-workers Lindsay Kelly that it’s “y’all” not “yawl.” But, c’mon, I’m from the south and that’s essential knowledge!
  4. It was a pathetic attempt to undermine my argument (like many on Facebook, I have friends and loved ones who were stupid enough to fall for the con’s con — this was one of “those” types of posts).

Repeat After Me – TYPOS HAPPEN!

I don’t care who you are, you will make a mistake in writing. It could be a typo, some sort of inconsistency, a grammar mistake . . . at some point if you publish a lot of a words (digital or on -horrors! – paper) you’re going to make a mistake.

And you know what, that’s OK. Authors routinely admit to fixing spelling and other errors in second editions of books. If they can do it, so can you.

If you’re scared of writing because you might spell something wrong, don’t worry about it. That’s why Webster invented the dictionary (actually, that was Samuel Johnson who wrote the first English language dictionary). The Word spellcheck program is very good, though not perfect. Find a friendly editor to both check the flow and spelling of your work. There are even online tools like grammarly that will check your spelling and grammar.

I will say that if your work in a professional setting is riddled with errors, you won’t be taken seriously. Though there are degrees of effort required to do the grammar thing right at work:

  • In-house brainstorming platform like Slack or Yammer — depends on how uptight your culture is. Ours, lol, it’s not pretty in there, but the ideas are awesome.
  • Email — depends on your audience; lunch request or idea brainstorming — who cares; communication to customer or the CEO — spell check that bad boy.
  • Social media — professional account, grammar be good. Personal account? Up to you. I try, but don’t kill myself.

A quick thought about the auto-correct on phones — we should all be forgiving of typos and misspellings. I type with a thumb on a tiny screen; there are going to be mistakes. Let’s give each other a break. Be kind.

If you want to write, no excuses.

That brings me to those killjoys who love to point out typos.

Pedantic Typo Assholes

The polite version of what I think when some ass corrects someone's grammar or typos on social media.
The polite version of what I think when some ass corrects someone’s grammar or typos on social media.

OK, I will admit that I LOVE to see a typo in a published book (and who doesn’t love the fractured English in a Chinese menu?). For me, it’s like a “whew, they aren’t perfect either so maybe I don’t suck as bad as I think sometimes.”

Some people though just take delight in shitting on people’s grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation, etc.

Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

ESPECIALLY on social media platforms which are more intimate and (until recently) friendly.

To everyone who keeps trying to express themselves with the written word; keep on trucking.

To all you pedantic assholes who delight in pointing out mistakes and booboos; fuck off.

Et cetera: OMG, a Google search of “panties in a bunch” is NOT safe for work. FYI. You’re welcome.

Published by

bryantduhon

Editor. Dad. Husband. Content marketer and strategist. Serial procrastinator. Pizza eater. Beer drinker. Not always in that order.

2 thoughts on “Fear of Writing – The Typo and the Typo Pointer-Outer”

  1. Wow, if I was afraid of grammar, I’d never write anything. I suck at grammar. I do have someone read my blog posts before I upload them, but I squeeze a few typos into photo descriptions and comments. I like the people who will DM me on Twitter with a correction. I have a few who have pointed it out in a comment. Some do it in a funny way, that makes me realize they are a regular and that’s ok. Some show up just for the grammar-kill and that’s uncalled for.

    Like

    1. I’m not always 100% up on my grammar rules either — that’s why I’ve got a reference shelf to the left of my writing chair! A few weeks ago, I read a blog post by Ann Handley, my favorite content marketing expert, about responding to typos in her book “Everybody Writes.” It was one of those, “whew, feel better about myself” moments! And I really don’t get the grammar kill police. The only exception is when you can point out a typo or a grammar mistake in the midst of some pedantic ass’ ranting about typos or poor grammar.

      Liked by 1 person

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