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Look Mom, No Typos!

Look Mom, No Typos!

There isn’t a single typo in this article. But just in case there is one, please don’t point it out to me.

I had a buddy send me a direct message on Twitter a few weeks ago to let me know about a small error in one of my game stories. “Just a little EDITING for you,” he wrote. I know he meant well, and I also know he had no clue the knowledge of that one mistake – somehow I didn’t catch it despite countless re-reads – would haunt me for the rest of the day and possibly the entire weekend.

He couldn’t possibly know because he’s not a writer.

Everywhere you look, creative people – such as writers – struggle to like their own work. They love what they do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with their life. But it’s that whole “your own worst critic” mentality.

That’s the case with yours truly. For me, there’s something truly special about telling a great story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sports story or a feature on a lady who grew up wanting to be Betty Crocker. I want to be the guy to tell that story. Because I believe I can tell it better than any other writer.

So the last thing I want is for there to be some minuscule mistake or typo to mess it all up!

Like the error my buddy found, which referred to a touchdown with 22 seconds left in the first half. It was supposed to say the first quarter. A small detail, but a detail nonetheless.

As I type this sentence, I can tell you there won’t be a single error in it because I had at least a week to look over it several times before we went to press. But when you are staring down a tight deadline and you have 20 minutes to write a 700-word masterpiece after keeping stats by yourself on a three-hour football game, strange things can happen.

Most of the time, we sports writers are spot on. Mistakes are few and far between.

But when they do happen, it’s bothersome. Especially for me.

So what’s the answer? I’m not the best person to tell you, unfortunately. I’ve heard people say don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and there is truth to that. You can’t let errors define you as a writer. At the same time, too many errors can define you in the wrong way. And that’s what I try to avoid – clearly to a fault.

I rarely read my stories after they’ve been published, and I’m pretty sure my copy desk hates it when I call in right before deadline to alert them to a small change I want to make to my story. These are things I struggle with daily, because all I want is to report the news mistake free. Is that too much to ask? I know you as the reader will think more highly of me if I do.

It’s the perfectionist in me, and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Taking the time to make sure it’s right is the only way to do this job. It will make me a better writer.

Until I get there, though, please don’t point out any of my errors. Oops, I found one. Now it’s fixed.

Until next time, I’ll see you on the sidelines.


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