I always knew there was a secret to writing. Who knew it was as simple as this?
I have always been a fan of Shel Silverstein. Since my first read of, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” I have admired his work. I learned many of life’s lessons on his stark and gritty pages.
Last night, while reading with the kids, I came across this beautiful poem, a jewel amongst the snarky rhyming couplets and occasional illustrated bottom:
There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.
From: Every Thing On It
You can chalk this up to another life lesson learned from Silverstein. It’s not the end that we look forward to when it comes to life. It’s this part here in the middle that matters, warts and all. I am thankful for my middle…and all the people that give it joy.
May you have a very happy middle and a Happy Thanksgiving!
Poor, poor Peeface…
It used to be, back in the day, that Typos were a problem for writers, printed publications, and secretaries. Nowadays, in the world of social media and email, Typos are everyone’s problem.
Everything you write is about communication. When you make a thoughtless mistake, it’s distracting from what you wrote. Typos take the reader out of the experience and force them to judge you. To avoid this, you must proof—and preferably before anyone else reads it.
Well, at least there aren’t many words in paintings.
A while ago, I confessed that I have a long and tortuous relationship with Typos. I implored others to help me with their tips on how to catch Typos. My readers did not disappoint. I found out some great stuff.
So in the spirit of sharing and keeping emails, resumes, business writing, and cat video explanations error-free, here are additional ways to proof better BEFORE you hit send:
Matthew Steele, this is IT:
“Another way to catch typos is to save your article in PDF format and then open it in Adobe Reader (free) and go to View > Read Out Loud > Activate Read Out Loud, then click where you want it to start reading. It’s a monotone voice, but if you can put up with it, hearing it read to you while you read is a real help.”
Monique Huenergardt, Freelance Author’s Editor, Copy Editor, and Proofreader:
“Change the font style and size, and then reread it. The “preview” function in Blogger serves the same purpose; I almost always catch errors I didn’t see in the draft.”
Writu Tandon, Business Operations Specialist Advance with State of New Mexico:
“In my case, a ‘second pair of eyes’ saves me. Whenever possible, I show my work to my coworker or a friend. Otherwise, I email it to myself, and for some unknown reason, when I receive it in my inbox, I read it more objectively and am able to find ‘most’ typos.”
John Wurtenberger, President and Business Development Engineer at WURTEK:
“One thing my mom taught me when I was a kid was to read my writing backward, word for word. This gives the eyes and brain a different perspective, allowing some misspellings and typos to jump out that we would normally miss.”
If you want a refresher in how I proof, you can hear my radio interview on proofing resumes here.
So THAT’s why real estate is so much cheaper in the Inland Empire!
It’s not easy to proof your own stuff. One need only read over my past posts, to know that typos are alarmingly pervasive in today’s quick to publish genres. I would argue, however that learning from someone like me has distinct advantages, not the least of which is that I am just an ordinary sinner when it comes to proofing. Asking for proofing advice from someone who is perfect at proofing is like asking a cat how to make a video that is both cute and viral. They don’t know…so they can’t tell you. Plus in this case, cats can’t talk, which just creates more obstacles to knowledge.
I know firsthand that this is true. When I was in college, I decided to be a music minor. My parents were overjoyed, by the way. I guess they were so glad that I had something to fall back on in case my Theatre Major didn’t pan out for me.
As an illustrious Music minor, I had to take Music Theory (business school types: this is how you write actual music on a staff for instruments and voices and stuff). Part of the class that was particularly challenging to me was called ear training, a lab portion of the class where you listen to notes and have to write them down on the staff as played.
To be honest, it took me longer than it should to see this one!
IF the idea of this class bewilders you, then you know exactly how I felt. A professor with perfect pitch, a rare gift where the possessor knows exactly the notes and key just by hearing them, taught my first semester. Needless to say, he wasn’t much help to my complete ineptitude. He was generous, however, as he gave me a C, although I sincerely doubt I earned it.
The next semester, however, the professor who taught this portion of class had also struggled with ear training. He was a far superior teacher, because he had to teach himself. He knew how to talk to the clueless, like me, because he had also been clueless at one time.
Is number 6 gluten-free?
Because of the ear training course, I am living proof that an absolute idiot can get better at almost anything. So no matter how abysmal you are at proofing your own emails (posts, marketing copy, resumes, novels, letters to your mom), you can improve. To start the process of improvement, however, you have to take the first step.
Seems a little extreme…
I challenge you to try one of these methods above and let me know what you discover in what you thought was otherwise a perfectly acceptable email. Only this time, you will see the blunder before you hit send.
For many more hilarious Typo Memes, see “30 of the Funniest Typos of All Time” at weknowmems.com.
Terri Lively is a career marketing professional that has unique experience in the areas of messaging and client relations. Terri helps her clients break through the clutter by injecting a bit of humor into the business world. For the past 15 years, she helps her clients create marketing materials that effectively communicate their message and get results, across all types of media. More about Terri can be discovered at www.terrilively.com.
Who doesn’t have doubts about whether they have the talent to be the artist they want to be? I suppose there are a few people out there, but for the rest of us, doubt is a place with which we are all familiar.
I like this video because it’s honest and inspiring. It confirms that when you start out, it’s just not that good. But like a sculptor, you keep taking away the excess material until you uncover your work of art in it’s glorious form. It will be there, just as fantastic as you pictured it.
But in order to get there, you have to keep working. So keep it up, keep drafting, revising, giving up and starting over…whatever your process is. The art is there, like buried treasure, so don’t ever stop looking for it.