Some of my most embarrassing moments have happened with typos. I’ve been writing professionally since college graduation. I won’t mention exactly how many years that is. But, it’s plenty. Plenty of time to make more than a few mistakes.
I had a typo on SwimSwam. I left out a number on my tips.
My process begins with a small idea. Then I write a rough sloppy draft. Then I begin to hone it down into something tight and simple — and I number my tips. Along the way I cut out one tip that didn’t seem to fit. But, the story didn’t automatically renumber itself. Making a mistake like that on a busy forum like SwimSwam is decidedly embarrassing. Of course in the comments section the readers pointed it out.
You can read that story HERE: 12 Parent Tips on How to Behave at Practice.
On the bright side, I got a RT by Natalie Coughlin. I was super excited about that, so the story still worked even if it was not perfect.
My second worst typo was in the ’80s. I worked for a PR and advertising firm and I wrote eight newsletters a month, plus three or four press releases daily. It was a busy, intense job. I was in charge of PR for a fundraiser for abused women which was held at a local country club. In my press release that ran just about everywhere — I mistakenly put in my own phone number instead of the club’s to RSVP! There was no taking that one back. I lived through it by hooking up an answering machine. Remember when we used those?
I felt humiliated though, when my co-workers relentlessly teased me.
My all-time worst typo was when I had my own PR and advertising business. I had some super-duper clients including the hospital’s cancer center and a local branch of a major Wall Street firm. When the boss at the Wall Street branch was promoted to NYC to corporate headquarters, he still used me for all of his work. I was SO excited! Then I made a typo on his Power Point presentation. It was on the new logo he had me create for the Western Region of the United States of America. Ugh.
He was so angry with me, because I made him look bad in front of the entire Board. I’ll never forgive myself for that one. And he no longer used me. Of course.
I was working with an amazing art director to create the logo for the Western Region. I think it said “Westen.” I didn’t proof read the type on the logo, I was focusing on the design.
Not the worst, but worth mentioning because it happened in recently. All these years later I’m still making typos. In the March issue of our HOA newsletter, I mistyped a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” phone number of a new neighbor. The new person emailed me to let me know.
I assured her I’d correct it in the next issue which went out last week. I lost the document of the last newsletter, which I was going to use as a template because of computer problems. I did have the very first issue somewhat intact, so I worked off of that.
Somehow, in the “Welcome to the Neighborhood” section, I added the new neighbors’ names and double triple checked the phone numbers — but left the address in from the first issue — which was the wrong house!!! Fortunately, the board proofs the newsletter, and we have one ace proofer who caught it before it was printed.
Still, I’m embarrassed about making two typos on the same newcomer’s entry!
The thing with typos is your brain can trick you into seeing what you intended to be there.
My tips to catch typos:
1. Read the piece from the bottom, sentence by sentence.
2. Read it out loud.
3. Put it away for a few days to get a fresh view.
4. Have other people proofread for you.
5. Don’t forget to proofread the title and headers. Numbers, too.
What are your worst typos? What tips do you have to catch them?