Typos are the enemy of any writer – professional or not. Typos cost me a job, typos have bit me in the ass before. Typos almost destroyed my confidence as a writer and to this day, they still make me achy. But, this is for me as much as it is for you – typos are not the end of the world.
Typos have been an issue in my life for a while. I’m a writer, they are unavoidable, but at one point, I wanted to actually quit writing for good. It was my job in politics. I worked for a digital advertising agency that specialized in politics. My days consisted of social media – tweets and Facebook posts and fundraising emails. In advertising (especially digital where things constantly move), you create a lot of content. Unfortunately, as you produce more content, the margin for error and for typos goes up.
I’m not perfect, I make mistakes all day long. This job wasn’t any different. In fundraising emails, a few typos escaped through, even though the copy was read by myself, other people on my team, and the campaign. After a few typos (along with a frustrating campaign that I was just not a good fit for), I was put on a warning. If there was one more error, I’d be out of the company. With almost two months left until the election, I developed panic attacks just sending emails out.
Despite reading and reading and rereading until I couldn’t even comprehend what I was writing or reading anymore. The more panicked I was, the more typos came out. Other people on campaigns made mistakes, too, the pressure beginning to eat us all alive.
Looking back, the irony of it all – getting lectured from the CEO about typos when then man’s emails would be riddled with them and shorthand. In professional emails. I can only hope he used spell check before talking with clients.
Having panic attacks five days a week, sometimes multiple times a day is fucking exhausting. After the warning, I started applying for new jobs, knowing I wanted to jump ship by the end of the year.
After the election, when I was let go, I have to believe that the typos played a part in this. A writer losing her job because of silly little typos? Silly little typos that had become such a scary process in my life?
Y’all I felt real pathetic. After this job, I had little confidence in my ability to succeed in any kind of creative role. Seven months of applications, trying to find a new job to replace the one I had, all the interviews going bust – well none of those things certainly helped my confidence. In fact, it wasn’t until I landed at my current job that I think that healing process of recovering from typos began to happen.
You see, in my current job, I send over 100 emails a day to customers. I no longer hesitate with the fear of hitting “send” and something not being correct. I feel confident enough that I can send that customer an email without typos. Most days, it’s not even an issue.
Related Post: Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Then the other day, a friend texted me that he had found a typo in my book. My book from three years ago. Looking at the screenshot he sent me, I don’t even remember the scene. But it’s all right because instead of getting all worked up and worried that there was another typo, I just shrugged. I’m a writer, I’m never going to escape them.
Realizing this, knowing that it wasn’t a disaster in my head, is such a major a relief. Having hit this breaking point, after thinking it would never hit, I feel like it’s important to say: typos aren’t fun. They’re embarrassing and they will humble the hell out of you. But typos are not the end of the world. Like taxes and death, you can’t avoid them forever. Whether you’re new to this or you’ve been writing for years, you’re going to have your fair share of typos.
Accept them, maybe embrace the funny ones, and keep writing. You’re so much more than a typo.