Confessions of a Copy Editor

my badI can’t spell worth a lick. Likely due to the fact that I’m a country girl at heart and we learn to spell phonetically, which works about 90% of the time. The two words I absolutely never spell right on the first try: “occasion” and “dilemma.”

Except right then. Seriously. I got dilemma right that time. Give me a minute while I do the happy dance….

Okay, back to it.

I frequently miss the fact that I typed “you’re” when it’s supposed to be “your” and vice versa.

Or I start to type “write” when I mean “right.” Usually I catch myself on that one. The other… not so much.

I absolutely despise the word “unique.” Truly. And I wasn’t always so biased. But one of my first copy editors when I began my writing career beat it out of my vocabulary and I’m never going back. Thanks, Michael.

I never respond well to constructive criticism of my own writing. At least not on the inside. I’m entirely too insecure.

Which is why I’ve always taken a “teach don’t preach” approach to my own copy editing. I use the words “We should” and “Let’s try” when making revision suggestions. It’s a team effort!

I have heart palpitations when I publish a blog post with spelling and grammatical errors and someone else points them out to me. It really, really sucks.

I hate blog comments. I hate writing them, and I hate reading them. So I rarely do. Except when I have to for “managerial” reasons. Reputation management and all that jazz.

Because I’m both a copy editor and a writer, I sort of get a little grrrrr inside when an editor changes my words around to more reflect his/her voice or writing style. When it doesn’t sound like me, well, then it’s not. I’d like to think I don’t do that to my writers…. But….

Occasionally (yep, spell-check to the rescue there), I post a Facebook status with a typo. Okay, maybe once a day. Some folks leave it and do the asterisk correction in the first comment. But I can’t. Absolutely cannot. Even if people have already liked and commented, it gets deleted and corrected.

I can find all sorts of typographical errors in other people’s work. But I always miss them in my own. It’s the disadvantage of writing and editing basically at the same time. I know what I mean to say when I write something, so I unintentionally gloss over all the oops stuff when I proofread. Never fails.

So, for those of you that haven’t quite gleaned the moral of the story yet…

Yes, I am a human being. I make mistakes. I am not perfect.


Nor will I ever claim to be.

Enjoy you’re your day.

(originally posted on Ink’d Content)


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