As a writing koan, which came first: the typo or the fix? Although we want to rely on spellcheckers, they might not catch when the mind goes in wild. During my writing meandry for S&M2, for my 2020 Album Review Game, I wrote: “While I give out forty 5-star ratings to albums….” Correction: “While I have given out forty albums 5-star ratings as of late 2020…” Would it have been a problem had I not caught it?
Typos are a sort of inevitability of writing.
I misspelled two words in the last two sentences: misspelled and inevitability. I’ll let the spellchecker catch my misspelled words, so when I’m not sure and the program doesn’t have a spellchecker, I do sometimes run into trouble. As I covered in “Take A Typo,” most typos in casual media are fine. It’s when there is a professional that is paid to review a piece of media for typos and those persist – that’s my problem.
How about style usage?
I haven’t decided on a formal style guide for my own writing, so sometimes I’ll capitalize the letter after a colon, and other times I won’t. When I’m feeling unsure, I’ll write the sentence, then rewrite it so I don’t have to deal with that colon question. Or, I’ll start the colon portion of the sentence with a first-person “I,” removing any ambiguity over whether the pro-capitalization or anti-capitalization crowds have room to argue.
Spellcheckers don’t often help in this regard.
Even the better ones get it wrong.
It’s always funny to me how often spellcheckers get things wrong.
However nice it is when they get things right, I should try to practice the sort of writing where I don’t need to refer to a spellchecker at all. Otherwise, you end up battling with spellcheckers over style or substance and it can get weird. Around the time I wrote Novel 01, I decided that I would focus my writing efforts on formal fiction or casual essays. I had to sacrifice writing critical analysis in any formal sense and I’ve been happy with the compromise I’ve built for myself.
I still write about the music I listen to… they’re just less… professional?
Rather than trying to figure out some unique opener for each one, I start with “this album” and more than half the time the album reminds me of something, so I’ll write about how “this album reminds me of when…” I saw them live, or some unrelated thing. They are more journal entries of having heard the music than anything analytical, but writing those are effective ways to warm up my writing thoughts for essay writing. I consider most any writing to be worthwhile in the pursuit of your writing interests.
I chased after a career in writing for many years.
It would be nice to write professionally. Rather than spending my 40-hour workweek on things unrelated to writing, I could spend that time developing my writing craft, so that I could first transition to a 4-hour workweek, then to an 80-hour workweek writing full-time. It would be nice because rather than carving out that time throughout my leisure time, I could use my leisure time to actually relax, I suppose. That’s still the career goal, but it feels weird to write and to consider, so I don’t know. The alternative is a life spent doing things that don’t invigorate me, so it’s a fine goal.
Typos don’t seem to bother most other writers.
I have a game I play when I read print media. I’ll read it as one normally does, without any thoughts in mind, but when I find a typo, I take a photo of it. I’ve built up a collection of 30 different typos in various print media since March 2019. This is where I, once again, have to throw doubt at the ability of the editors of these printed media to catch the typos, but then that koan reappears in my mind, where I wonder, which came first: the typo or the fix?
If no one caught the typo, did it really happen?
In some regards, the typo is only there once it is discovered.
As an extension of that Schrödinger’s typo, if I wrote this sentence originally with a lowercase “a,” but quickly deleted it, does that typo remain in my mind? Were it not for that previous sentence, that typo would have disappeared from any consciousness. You would have never known I started this paragraph with a typo, my spellchecker would have been happy since there weren’t any active typos, but the typo remains in my mind. Throughout this essay, I’ve made countless typos or missteps that in other essays don’t seem to happen. I could explain it as my sleep schedule is weird, so I’m awake at night when I should be sleeping.
Or I might be feeling insecure about making a typo in an essay like this…
For essays like these, I don’t often revisit them. I will only do so if there are substantial changes that I should make, otherwise, I’m happy enough with most of my essays that I don’t look them over and cringe. Honestly, thanks to my two-month publication schedule, when I check to make sure posts published correctly, the new essays you’re reading happened to me about two months ago. It’s more of a curiosity to me, as the writer, to have that padding time. I started doing that to give myself room to breathe, so if I didn’t feel like writing two essays, I wouldn’t be screwed.
Now, though, I like what’s happened with this publication schedule.
I can now be a reader, too, of my own writing. During those two months, I put away those thoughts. When I return, it’s almost like I’m reading them like you are; fresh and without any knowledge of what’s ahead. It makes the reading process interestingly poignant. I don’t often feel the sting of an errant typo.
With that S&M2 review’s typo, I fixed it, and moved on.
|Quotes: Just quoting myself.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I said this as a joke to someone and the idea stuck with me enough to want to write about. Any typos within this essay are accidental.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshot: An uncropped version of the introductory picture.|
|Written On: 2020 October 01 [2:32am to 3:16am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 October 01 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|