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 either—an 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.