On Typos

This isn’t a call for us to hark back to the olden days of hand-written correspondences. As cool as it would be to have calling cards and wax seals, it’s just neither practical or useful any more. But there is something to be said for the days when you had to hand write everything. It forced you to slow down and really chew over the words you wanted to use. You were also afforded the time to properly spell a word. If you weren’t sure of the spelling, you either stopped and looked it up, or you didn’t use it.

But today, we type at a thousand miles an hour and most of the time, we’ve hit send before we notice the number of typos and poor grammar in our message. It’s usually followed by: “Oops, sorry for the typos, I’m typing on my phone.” As if this gives us adequate excuse to not proofread our message before sending. But what does it tell the recipient?

If you are a writer by trade, it speaks volumes. As a writer, anything you post, is part of your brand. This goes for every correspondence other than private conversations via chat, text, or email. But we all know, that’s not where we do most of our writing. Today, you have to market yourself, non-stop. Whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog, goodreads, shelfari, pinterest…etc. you have to be cognizant of your brand. Whatever you write, just might be the first contact you have with a potential new fan.

I don’t have to tell you about the importance of first impressions. If you are sloppy with your image, it comes across like you are also sloppy with your writing. Ask yourself, when is the last time you saw Stephen King drop a typo laden update on Twitter or facebook or one of his blog posts? Chances are, you haven’t. And the same goes with any of the big name wordsmiths. It’s called professionalism. As a writer, we live and die by our words. Why not pick good ones, and then spell them right?

Put down your pitchforks and torches. No one can expect perfection all of the time. There will always be an occasional typo sneak past. It happens. Everyone can forgive those, as long as they are an exception and not the norm. So, today, as you are typing something, pause and proofread before you slam down that enter key. Your future fans will thank you for it.