When Editors Need Editors

It’s been 10 years since I wrote the original version of this post, and the fact that “editors need editors” is truer than ever.

For example, earlier this year, I wrote this on Twitter: “Looking to add the perfect punch to your prose? Use a one-sentence paragraph … judiciously.” But instead of “prose,” I wrote “pros.”

Oops.

A friend quickly pointed out the error, but the post was already out there.

Rewind to 2007, when I first wrote this post and had first published Dragonfly’s website. A friend wrote to tell me that the site had a typo.

What? A typo on a copyeditor’s website?

It was too true. In a blog post, I had mentioned that computer systems should be backed up “several times as day” — instead of “several times a day.”

It wasn’t the most egregious typo in the world, but it was a typo, nonetheless. And it served as a reminder that even editors need editors — when they’re working as writers. Why? Because when you’re writing, your brain is focused on conveying meaning, not nitpicking details. Your brain already knows what each word is supposed to be, so that’s what you see: what the word should be, not necessarily what it is.

Bottom line: even if you’re a great editor, you still need someone to proofread your writing. If you skip that step, don’t be surprised by tpyso. I mean, typos.

This post was originally published in 2007, and has been updated.

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