No matter how careful I think I am, one or two (or three or even four!) always remain, dancing on the page like it’s 1999.
Of course, I don’t notice the drunken partiers until someone points them out.
And like spinach caught in braces, there’s not much I can do except retreat, fix the problem, and act like nothing happened.
Or, before I publish, I can minimize the embarrassment by utilizing one of the typo-hunting tips below.
Change the Font
Or print it out. Or read it on a Nook or iPhone or even another computer. How ever you change it up – change the viewing platform. For whatever reason, this seems to break the bond between me and my text. It is amazing how typos, and punctuation errors, jump off the page (like fleas) when I do that.
This doesn’t often work for me because I usually get annoyed with reading my piece one word at a time and skip “back” to read forward in snippets, but even doing what amounts to mini-reads helps me find typos.
Go For a Walk
No matter how many times I re-read something, it isn’t until after I take my dog for a quick, 10-minute walk that I can then spot the nits-and-zits in a piece. For me, it is both the physical space change and time away from my work that allows an objective review. I suppose, it is another way to clear the brain-slate so I can read with “fresh eyes”. Speaking of fresh eyes…
Get the Dog to Read It
Well, my dog isn’t that smart (I think), but when I can’t get my husband to do it, sometimes my dog is the only one around for me to ask. Regardless of who I get to read my work, friends can be great typographic-error hunters. They don’t know what I meant to say, so things like ‘bacon’ for ‘beacon’ are easy to identify – for them.
Make a Speech
My husband and I live in a small cottage. Just about every sound one of us makes can be heard by the other. Even so, I have been known to read my work out loud. The act of reading something aloud highlights a number of things, not just typographical errors. I’ve noticed shoddy sentence construction, confusing paragraphs and poor pacing. And info-dumps. When I have to say an info-dump, it is amazing how quickly I try to get through it, sometimes even skipping phrases – a sure sign that a revision is needed.
Those are my tips for catching all those elusive typos. I don’t always use each one (though I should), but these methods have helped.
What about you? Do you have a great way to catch your typos?
- Those pesky typos . . . (hopeofglory.typepad.com)
- Even Type A’s Make Typos (business2beauty.wordpress.com)
- Blogs and Typos: A big deal? (crimsonleague.com)
- Typo holds up Obama signature on air traffic furlough bill (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)