The Typo Challenge

Most newspapers have a corrections column (otherwise known as a humility training ground for writers, editors, and proofreaders). When a typo sneaks into the paper, concerned readers may submit the correction to the editor and it will run in the next issue.

After making any size mistake, it’s normal to want to quit. But throwing in the towel every time you do something wrong has two main problems: giving up* robs you of a learning and growth opportunity, and you’re bound to make mistakes if you do anything for more than a day. If every journalist quit the first time their article hit the corrections column, every newspaper office in the country would be empty.

I’m thinking about typos because you probably noticed I made one in my last blog post. My September 23 post, 6 Types of High School Baseball Fans, isn’t about baseball at all—it’s about football. A glaring error!

Several of you pointed it out to me, which started the ball rolling. I don’t have an editor or proofreader for my blog, because that’s just how personal writing works. But, what I do have is a crew of faithful, highly literate readers (yes, I’m talking about you).

So what?

From now on, when I accidentally make a typo in one of my posts, I’ll send a prize to the first person who tells me what the error is and how it should be corrected. Yes! A real live prize (well, the prize won’t be alive)!

Typo Challenge.jpg

Typo Challenge Rules:

  1. The challenge only runs for 24 hours after the post goes live (in other words, no need to comb through my past 4 years of posts—otherwise I’d be sending prizes all over the place).

  2. Use my contact form, or if you know another way to contact me, that’s fine too. Carrier pigeons are acceptable. Include your address so I know where to send your prize.

  3. I’ll always highlight the most recent correction in my next post, and you’ll have the option to be featured as well. If you do want to be included, answer these three questions:

    • What is your favorite ice cream?

    • How do you like to spend your free Saturdays?

    • What book are you currently reading?

  4. What counts as a typo? Misspelled words, missing words, extra words, and incorrect grammar.

No contest should have more than four rules, so I’ll stop before I exceed my quota. I look forward to working with you (because really, I’m receiving a free editing service and some of you will just get prizes).

*There is a difference between giving up at your first mistake, and knowing when to quit when something isn’t right for you.