So, how come I see errors by editors and proofreaders?

Typo3Ok, so we all know that you go to an editor to work magic with your words, tighten you tables and add pzazz to your paragraphs. But you pop along to a blog, twitter or another piece of writing …and what’s that? A typo!

Yup. It’s there, shouting at you. “HellooooOOoooo! Got this one wrong didn’t you?” Cue flashing neon lights and dancing girls skipping across the screen.

Well, it’s not surprising really, after all we are only human.

Only Human

When you hire an editor, or a proofreader, we spend our time lovingly wandering through your copy. Armed with lovely coloured pens and a pencil or two, or sitting in front of the screen (probably still clutching the coloured pen as a comfort blanket), we switch on our “editing brain” and the magic happens. Words are evaluated, sentences tweaked, typos blitzed…piece by piece the copy starts to sparkle.

Until of course we come to our own writing. We try to avoid errors, but like every good editor knows, writers need editors…and once we cross the line, the writer part of the brain takes over. It’s a well known fact that the longer you work on a piece of your own writing, the closer you get to it, the less you see. You become used to the words on the page, you gloss over the odd error and the brain sees what it wants to see. Eventually, you will have re-read the piece so often that you miss the, sometimes glaring, errors. Heck, we’ve all seen those sentences doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook –  misplaced strings of words saying something along the lines of “if you can read all this jumbled up nonsense you are either hyper-intelligent or a superhero”.

It’s probably a little known fact (the non-scientific fact acquired by talking to people) that writing can bring editors out in cold sweats at times. You prepare a little article, read it…read it again…then re-read it. There’s a typo in there, there’s bound to be. In our profession we know that the spell checker doesn’t pick everything up, (and we know that it’s our reputation on the line)…so we read it again. It’s fine, we’re fine…we will not show ourselves up. Then BINGO! as soon as you thrust your writing out into the world there is it, quietly winking at you from the page or the screen.

old typewriter

So, next time you read something written by an editor, or a proofreader, and there’s an error, or a typo or a mis-aligned paragraph…smile your secret smile, lean back in your chair and heave a sigh of relief…yes…editors and proofreaders are human too!

*disclaimer* There’s bound to be a typo in here…there is just BOUND to be!

4 Comments on “So, how come I see errors by editors and proofreaders?

  1. Didn’t see any. Only thing I wasn’t sure of was whether you meant “is it” or “it is” near the end of the para that begins “It’s probably a little known fact”.

    Gonna pass this one around. I always feel like my stuff is under a microscope because I’m expected to be perfect (being the editor). Nice to know we can be human. 🙂

    • haha! well done Joanne! You’ve spotted the typo (well it did say Spot the Typo at the beginning 😉 But as an editor I’m not surprised you found it.

      It’s just something I felt I should highlight, it is so easy to miss a small typo, but often you get The Comment…..”there’s an ERROR” and you feel you should hang your head in shame and go hide in a corner.

      As came up in a recent professional Forum thread….no-one can claim to be 100% accurate in their work, or their writing, all the time. That would ,make us superhuman (or a robot),

  2. Pingback: 2014 – The Year of the Troll | Northern Editorial

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