It may not be the nicest thing, but when I see a posting with a misspelling, I sometimes have an internal scoff. When the word in question was already spelled correctly in a previous thread, in the thread that this post is specifically responding to, then my scoff becomes a bit more pronounced. And when the particular word is one that I know the poster was supposed to have read about in the context of the post… it simply astounds me.
I could never be so bold. I spell-check. I double-check when the spell check tells me a word that I know is correct isn’t. I do a search rather than use a word in a context that might be incorrect. I stress about these things, and I replay in my mind when I’ve cited a fact that later proves to have been false. Being factually incorrect scares me, because I’m still afraid to be wrong, more even than I fear being stupid – or maybe equally since I equate being wrong with being stupid.
I think that buried in my scoff is a jealousy. When I see such behavior, that my internal judge would never allow me to enact, then I scorn such carelessness while wishing to be as carefree. What, after all, does such a mistake matter? I think it makes a person look stupid, but what is there to be feared in being seen as stupid? Especially when I am not actually psychic and have no idea what other people really think.
I recently read a thread on io9 that invited commenters to post about “classic” books that they couldn’t stand to finish reading (link). Some of the books I hadn’t read. Some I agreed on, and others were books that I love.
I started to feel better about my own prospects in writing after reading that thread. Even if no one has bought any of my stories yet, that doesn’t mean that no one ever will. In a way, it’s about finding the right audience. No one will ever write something that everyone likes, or something that everyone hates. And I know that a few people have liked my fiction writing (they just aren’t editors of magazines, more’s the pity).
But that isn’t the only takeaway. No matter how correctly I try to frame my actions, there are people to whom I will come off negatively, or in ways that I don’t intend. I can’t please everyone, no matter how hard I try, and I can’t know whether I’m pleasing anyone or not.
I guess I’ll have to agree with Rick Nelson and settle for pleasing myself.