A single letter stands between the title of this piece and that of the one that came before it. Sometimes that one little letter is all it takes – an “o” where an “e” ought to be, or vice versa. One little letter standing between what was meant and what you got instead: The dreaded typographical error.
There’s a plethora of phenomena bearing the moniker “writer’s bane” (primarily because it’s just fun to call things bane, I think): Deadlines in conjunction with distractions, whole documents destroyed by the vile Technology Fiend, and long stretches of writer’s block, to name a grisly few. But the real shudder-inducer in my book is the “mistake in printing, typesetting, or typing, especially one caused by striking an incorrect key on a keyboard”; more to the point, I shudder to think that my reading material or written works will contain an instance or several of the contemptible things.
Typos are sneaky little devils, slipping under a proofreader’s radar with a mastery of subterfuge. They gull our eyes with homophony, knowing theirs a decent chance there substitution will remain they’re unnoticed. They switch words around, betting our that automatically brains will rearrange so the sentence it reads properly. On that same token, they just decide take one or words out altogether. They play with punctuation, relying, on our lack? of confidence; regarding where exactly – bits, and pieces, like commas – and semicolons ought to go: in the first place” Typos are invisible until they don’t want to be, and then they are a serious distraction.
I try to be careful, truly I do. I check, recheck, and triple-check every blog piece I post, every Facebook comment I share, every email I send (and that goes double for every book or short story I write). But sadly, I am only human. Not even a half-elf or a partial-elemental, as far as I know; fully, fallibly, lamely human. And even the best writer cops among us humans just can’t catch ‘em all. Inevitably, the occasional typo will get through. (And if you were expecting much help from the automated spell-check, think again; it’s been seen palling around with the Tech. Fiend one time too many.)
All I can do – all any of us can do – is remain vigilant. Yes, it may be an age of text messages, emoticons, and deliberate abbreviations in the name of the vernacular. But when you take a piece of writing seriously, and when you want others to do the same, you owe it to us all to do the best you can to ensure that what you’ve typed and what you meant to type match up to the very last letter.
So if you ever notice a typo in any of my blog pieces, please do let me know.