There’s nothing quite as demoralizing for a writer as reading back through previous published and/or posted works and getting smacked in the face with typos and misspellings. It’s like being caught with food in your teeth, but worse. Print immortalizes your stupidity.

In the last newsletter I sent out to dozens (and dozens) of people, I wrote about living “oversees.” Catching that mistake this morning, weeks after the letter was sent, was like a slug to the gut. Really, Jennifer? REALLY?

I routinely have minor panic attacks in random places, like the shower or while watching a play (check the comments) or driving home from town. Hang on a sec— Did I POUR over those pictures or did I PORE over them? AHHHH!

The other day my mother pointed out that I’ve been mixing up my peeks/peaks. (I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother keeps a running list of all my mistakes, waiting for just the right moment to smack me with them, bless her ever-grammar-loving heart.) I know better. Really, I do! It’s just that I get so focused on the idea of what I’m saying that my brain glosses right over the mistakes no matter how many times I proof the piece. Good editors are worth their price in gold. I don’t have eitheran editor or gold. 

Now that my mother alerted me to my “peak” problem, I’m kind of tempted to type the word into my blog search engine and make corrections. But I’m scared, too. What if I’ve been climbing mountain peeks and peaking in closets on a routine basis? Can my tender psyche handle the shame?

Lately, I’ve been tied up in knots over my writing. I’ve been getting up most mornings at five and plunging straight into the work of wrestling swirly, slippery thoughts onto paper. I drink coffee, but the going is still sloggy-slow. (But it’s rewarding, too. Not because I’ve actually produced something readable, mind you—I’ve usually only succeeded in digging myself in deeper—but because by the time the kids wake up I can shut the computer and know I’ve done at least some writing for the day.)

I may be getting a little obsessive, overly fretful about redundancy and tight sentences and being perfectly logical (probably not something I’m even capable of). On the other hand, it’s good for me, this discipline of the three Ps: patience, persistence, and perfection. Fast writing (i.e. frequent blogging) is a discipline, too—a discipline in letting go, putting out, and grinning boldly even when there is food in my teeth. Which is why I am doing a fast post today: to keep me limber while I’m in the throes of obsessing.

Smile onward-ho!


  • beckster

    I find grammar mistakes and typos in published works all the time. You are way too hard on yourself. You write wonderful posts, and you share your life with us, what's not to like?

  • Margo

    haha, as the professional, paid editor, this post cracks me up. I make mistakes on my blog, too, and I'm sure I let mistakes get published (I rarely crack the books I've edited after they're published – can't bear the suspense).

    I found a typo in the blue Mennonite hymnal this year as I was singing along in church. I didn't write it down (WHY?!) and now I can't prove that I'm an ace editor. sighhhhh

    I love these horse photos.

  • Ann

    Oh Jennifer, you're too hard on yourself. We all know you can write circles around us any day. Well, I suppose I should just speak for myself, but I know it. I don't keep coming back into your world looking for perfection. I keep coming for the smiles, the human connection that I feel, the beautiful pictures, and the sense that I have a friend half way across the country that I've never met, but care about none the less (or is it nonetheless?).

  • Natalie

    While reading a Berenstain Bears book to my son this morning I came across a type-o in published, paid-for print —"Maybe we're never going get to the festival." (Where was the editor on this one?) I reread that sentence about 5 times word for word until I was certain the book was wrong and not me because I've read it to my kids "to get to the festival" a zillion times without noticing the missing "to." If a professionally published book complete with an editor can make mistakes, you can too.

  • Tricia @ The Domestic Fringe

    I'm terrible at spelling. I don't notice typos until after the fact. And, my brain must think more quickly than my fingers type, because I leave out whole words, words I know I said in my head, but never made it onto my screen.


    Sometimes I want to smack myself in the head for my mistakes.

  • melodie davis

    Love the horse pictures!! Yours? A great picture is worth a thousand mis-peeks-peaks-piques — piques is what I see misused the most, not here, but everywhere else. I've probably used these wrong myself.

  • Sarah

    Oh gosh so great. My favorite is when we've had a post up for days, my husband reads it after hundreds (and hundreds) of others have, and he finds a mistake. Also, so many people make that peek, peak mistake. I would bet there are so many that maybe 1% of people even notice it's a mistake.

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