One Area to Stop Thinking About to Improve Your Focus On Writing

One Area to Stop Thinking About to Improve Your Focus On Writing
Photo by Andrew Beierle

One Area to Stop Thinking About to Improve Your Focus On Writing

Do grammatical errors make you cringe?

As a professional freelance editor, I see spelling and grammatical errors all the time. I drove my manager nuts when I worked at Dillards right out of college, pointing out all of the errors in her table signage. I irritated close family members when I would correct their grammar when I was a kid, and I correct mistakes on handouts now while sitting in departmental meetings at my current job.

It's like a tick, an annoying critter that you can't seem to get away from. But, unlike ticks, spelling and grammatical errors can be ignored.

You can learn how to shut off the inner critic. You might still be able to see the mistakes, but you learn how to refuse to let them give you the rise they have given you in the past.

I would go crazy if I couldn't shut off my inner critic. I see mistakes everywhere. And I even catch myself looking for them.

Ever notice that it is so much easier to point out mistakes than it is to point out strengths? When you're not in the "zone", I challenge you to focus on seeing the strengths in the writing. I would venture to guess that focusing on the strengths would help improve your writing skills far better than focusing on the weaknesses does.

There are studies that show that positive reinforcement is more effective at improving productivity than negative reinforcement. If you get punished every time you make a mistake, won't you worry about making more mistakes? Wouldn't it be better, and less stressful, to focus on what you do right?

When we get caught up in our drive toward perfection, we risk our creativity. We're not able to open our minds and just let the writing come out. We're too focused on making a mistake.

So, this week, I encourage you to refuse to focus on the mistakes. If they rear their ugly heads, say, "no, go away. I won't give you the attention you think you deserve." You can do this. I believe in you. Let your creativity loose and have fun!

Jody Calkins
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