3 Sure-Fire Ways to Miss Annoying Writing Mistakes
Through my editing work, both for my clients’ work and my own, I have noticed three sure-fire ways to miss writing mistakes. Typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings have a way of worming their way into our writing work, and it’s not always because we lack the intelligence in language.
Sometimes by the time we have a chance to get words written out, our brains are already onto something else. A new thought pops into our minds and without noticing, we type the wrong letters or the wrong words. It happens.
The writing part isn’t nearly as critical in this regard as the editing part. When we’re editing our own work, we have the prime opportunity to catch our writing mistakes. That doesn’t always happen though. Mistakes escape our attention even in the editing stage. Here’s why:
We’re working too fast. It takes time to write and edit well, to catch all the writing mistakes and polish a manuscript to “perfection”. When we rush through the writing and editing process, we overlook things and we make writing mistakes. They just don’t catch our eye because we’re too busy rushing through it, wanting to be done with it so we can move onto something else.
Tip: go slow. Take your time revising your writing work. Set it aside so you can go back to it with fresh eyes.
We get bored. With the decreasing attention spans in today’s world, we can get bored with our writing work, especially if we’ve been working on the same project for a long time. We just want to be done so we can work on something new and shiny. We start to lose focus, and we get impatient with our work. It takes a great deal of focus and discipline to see an editing project through to the end.
Tip: make yourself edit your work sentence by sentence. If you find yourself trying to skip ahead, reign yourself back in.
We downgrade the project’s value. When we’ve been working on a writing project for so long, we have a tendency to “be done with it already!” We’ve lost interest, it’s hard work, and we try to tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter if a few errors show up. We start to devalue our writing projects and convince ourselves that mediocre work is acceptable.
Tip: remind yourself why you set out to write the piece in the first place. Understand that even though you’ve lost interest in seeing it through all the hard work, you’ll need to keep in mind that it was written for a good reason so you don’t get tempted to accept mediocrity in your work for the sake of finishing it.
Writing well is rewarding work, but it does take time. Give it the time and attention it needs to avoid these writing mistakes and you'll be on your way to writing success!