Friday, September 21, 2012

Perfectionism or Nitpicking?

How do you tell the difference?

I'm actually not sure there's much of one, if any at all. I like things done right. I especially like words spelled right, sentences structured right and paragraphs punctuated right. (Okay, it should probably be "properly" instead of "right" those last three times, but I'm going for an echo of the first "right.")

Yes, I review text messages and emails before I send them to catch typos. I don't rely on spell check in my manuscripts because I don't entirely trust it. I do, however, trust the spelling ability that got me in more spelling bees than I ever wanted to be in as a kid.

I've actually copy-edited magazines, newspapers and published books -- not because I'm getting paid for it, but because it drives me nuts to see mistakes go uncorrected.I spent hours last week removing a stupid formatting error that showed up in my manuscript. I tried to leave it there and continue writing. I just couldn't do it. I hate it when I make a typo or leave out a word on Facebook or Twitter.

I don't consider myself a perfectionist, though. (If you could see my house . . .) I don't like to think of myself as a nitpicker, either.

I just like to think I'm a writer.


  1. I'm punctuationally challenged, but it drives me nuts when an author uses a word improperly: such as using 'Alter' to describe where people get married.

    Typppos and poor speling don't bother me as much, expeicially if I can figue out what they ment. ;)


    1. LOL, T. Spelling mistakes annoy me in published materials mostly. It's one thing in emails, letters, etc., but it kills me when SOMEONE had the responsibility of making sure it was right and missed it.

      When we lived in San Diego, the official sign at the main gate of North Island Naval Air Station
      read, "This is a goverment installation." For four years, my fingers itched to grab a big black marker and fill in that "n."

      Another of my favorite mistakes -- which, I guess, fits both our peeves -- in an ad, &M used "waddle" to refer to Grandma's saggy neck. I snorted.

  2. You have missed a space in the third line of the fourth paragraph of this post.

    Typos happen. All it means is one, you're human and two, you're brave enough to put your work out there. Nothing to stress over.