on making mistakes (in public, no less)


This morning a reader wrote to alert me, very gently and carefully, to a glaring typo in yesterday’s post on self-publishing. I wrote “elicit” when I meant “illicit”. Yikes! It got me thinking about making mistakes, (in public, no less) like this one made last night, when I was writing the post late, blind after a long day, moving too fast…

Oh well. Having spent years as a perfectionist, these days I’m opting for less perfection, for trying to get to the point, get things out there, improvise, try stuff, make mistakes. (But then, this is not surgery or flying an airplane.) And when I make mistakes: own up, learn from them, correct them… and try to write enough ahead to give the work to a copy editor (a friend)…

The reader who corrected me this morning also wrote that she loved ‘the improvised life’ despite its typos, and told this story about how it has influenced her thinking:

“I thought of you this weekend when I was in the 99-cent store and briefly considered buying a three-piece basting set for some pastry I was planning to make, because I had misplaced my pastry brush in a move. Then I said to myself ‘No, you don’t need to buy some ‘throwaway’ set with two other pieces you don’t need; just use a paper towel or something.’  It’s how I think about things now – use what you have instead of buying something that you really don’t need that just promotes more production of unnecessary cheap items…

…Your daily reminder in my inbox keeps it front and center in my head. Thank you for that. It’s an orientation I have long subscribed to…but one that is easy to push to the back of your head when you are bombarded with ‘it-only-costs-99 cents-it’s-easier-to-get-something-quickly attitude’ that surrounds us.

Just so you know that your blog has all sorts of positive effects in this world, and this is just one small one. Thank you so.”

So, I’m gonna work on the typos and keep writing… and THANK YOU all for bearing with…

…and ask: what is it like to find typos in the midst?  What do you think about mistakes?

2 Responses to on making mistakes (in public, no less)

  1. Elizabeth 02.23.2010 at 11:20pm #

    There’s a wonderful website http://www.librarytypos.blogspot.com that you might be interested in as well.

    I, too, think about your blog and it’s message throughout my day. Thank you for all the wonderful posts!

  2. Sally 02.25.2010 at 8:46pm #

    That site is great and HEARTENING. Makes me feel so much better! Thanks a million!

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