We all make mistakes, right? This is just fact, especially for writers because if everyone wrote perfectly, why would there be editors?
Well, just to be clear, editors aren’t there to clean up your sloppy copy. A basic grasp of grammar is essential for the writing business. But sometimes, no matter how thorough you are, how many times you “BEFORE YOU SEND”, you still might miss something.
That’s why it’s great to have a second pair of eyes go over your copy and find those pesky little errors you might have let slip through the cracks.
However, something I’ve noticed a couple of times in my own writing is that even after publishing, after presumably, editors have gone through it before putting it live on their website, I’ll notice an error….or two….or a complete spellcheck misuse of the word (through confused for thou for example) throughout the entire work.
And this is after I’ve linked it on my Facebook and Twitter. After I’ve glowingly shown it off to friends and family and then bam, a great, glaring grammar mistake in an otherwise spectacular article.
What do you do then?
Throw in the towel? Retire from writing completely? Give up and just write for your local newspaper?
Never make a deadline because you have to make sure that your article is perfect and I mean perfect!
Don’t delete your Microsoft word just yet! And even though you might think that a mistake after publishing makes you a poor excuse for a writer, just remember that major publishers have made mistakes aplenty.
Have no fear, here are a few tips for getting through that initial shock when you see a mistake on something that’s recently been published.
1. Don’t Panic.
In the words of my favorite author, Douglas Adams, don’t panic and always know where your towel is. Well perhaps the second one is less relevant, but still, say you re-read an article that just went live and you notice an error. Just relax and don’t get too down on yourself.
Also, if you want to make yourself feel a little better you can check out these continuity errors and typos that slipped through the cracks and ended up in the final published copies of famous novels.
2. Read it over a few times.
Before you start drafting furious emails to the publisher or editor asking how they could have missed the mistake, read the article through a couple of times. Make sure that there’s not another issue that got missed. Sometimes it’s not always grammatical, you might catch a formatting issue or maybe see a copyrighted photo that got used when it shouldn’t have.
3. Write Back
After you’ve looked it over, (promptly) draft up an email to send to the person who published your article. Just nicely point out that you noticed a mistake. You don’t have to go on the defensive, and you don’t have to play the major self-deprecating card, all you have to do is ask if the error can be fixed -asap. More than likely the editor will be glad that the error was caught sooner rather than later.
4. Learn from the incident and Write On!
This is the best advice any writer will get, just keep writing. Sure it’s a bummer that your beautiful shiny new piece of content included an error or two. And yes, the major pros will tell you that’s just completely unacceptable and maybe it is, but we’re (for the most part) all beginners here. You learn, you find better ways to edit your copy, and you keep writing.
Have you noticed any cringe worthy errors in the comments? Did you notice any typos in this article? Let me know in the comments:)