(Yeah, I quoted Fergie in the title. Now she’s stuck in your head, isn’t she? Sorry. Please don’t hate me.)
So, you ever have one of those days? Wait, what am I saying here, of course you haven’t. You are all probably perfect people, who glide gracefully through life, never so much as falling off a bike or pouring bleach in your own coffee. For sure.
Well, I am not a perfect person, and I have had one of Those Days. I knew it would be thus as soon as I got up and discovered that I’d made a stupid spelling mistake in one of the blog posts I wrote last night (Yes, I did spell check, but it was a name I thought I knew how to spell so I let it go. Yes, I am stupid.) and that, not one, but two people had left snarky comments about it. GOD.
I should really just have gone back to bed right there. My experience with Those Days (and trust me, I’ve had a lot of experience with Those Days) is that once the first mistake has been made, others will follow, as surely as Neighbours follows the one o’clock news. And so it was. I followed up my stupid spelling mistake with one of my trademark “writing about something that’s already been covered” tricks. (Yes, I did check. No, I did not see the earlier article. Yes, I do hate myself a little bit right now, oh yes I do!) Needless to say, this was noticed and commented upon almost instantly. Go me!
Could the day get any worse? Why yes – yes it could! One headline typo, one completely missing headline, one garbled mess of a post (What was I trying to say? Who knows!) and one distorted mess of an image later, I was about fit to be tied. Luckily, all of these mistakes were ones that I noticed, and managed to correct, almost instantly, but even so. What was I thinking? (Answer: nothing. Obviously. My mind was a vacuum, a gaping void. I made Paris Hilton look intelligent today, and I hang my head in shame). What is WRONG with me? Also: Typepad? Was a b*****d. And I missed Neighbours. Gah.
I know: it was just one of Those Days. An off-day, if you will. And I should point out that I’m not normally like this. (Hi, potential clients who are reading this! Wanna employ a blogger?!) Most days I manage to only screw up once or maybe twice, not all the live-long day. The problem with this, though? Well, as a blogger, you’re not allowed to have off days. You’re not allowed to make mistakes. At all. Ever. I mean, I know we all have days like these. I know we all make mistakes. When your job involves writing on the Internet, though, you can guarantee that no mistake will go un-noticed. For every mistake you make, there’s a snarky commenter just waiting to pounce on it gleefully. And in my case? There’s two.
I can’t think of many other jobs where there’s so much pressure to be absolutely perfect at all times. Where the slightest typo or spelling error will be met with instant, public humiliation. And don’t get me wrong: I hold my hands up to the mistakes I make. I know I shouldn’t make them. I should be perfect, and I should be perfect at all times. It’s just that… sometimes I’m not. (Well, OK, a lot of the time I’m not .GOD.)
The people who leave the snarky comments, though? Perfect. All of them. I mean, they must be, or they wouldn’t feel such an overwhelming need to point out other people’s mistakes. I always have to sit on my hands when I get these comments, to stop myself typing back something along the lines of, “Thanks for the comment. By the way, what’s the address of your blog? You know, the one where you’ve never made a single mistake, ever?” Of course, the problem with that is that they’re allowed to make mistakes. They’re not writers. Writers are not allowed to make mistakes. Not even the odd typo. If you’re a writer, and you make a spelling error, God help you. You will never get away with it. At best, you’ll get a bitchy email along the lines of “Haha, you call yourself a writer, but you made a typo on your blawg!” At worst, you’ll get two.
What do people get out of this kind of thing, I wonder? I notice lots of mistakes on people’s blogs – “there/their” confusion and “should of” rather than “should have” being the two that instantly spring to mind. When I see these mistakes, though, it never occurs to me to point them out. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the need to haul out the ol’ riding boots and get up onto my high horse about it. For one, I’m scared of heights, and for two, what would I gain from it? I’d just make myself look spiteful and petty. Do these people know they look spiteful and petty, or do they think they think they’re successfully pulling off the “helpful” thing? Who knows…
Anyway. One of Those Days. Grow a thicker skin, learn to proofread better, get on with it. (Oh – and wine helps, I find…) Conclusion: I have one hell of a strange job. But I like it.