Writer, laugh at yourself, not with yourself

Instructions to a young writer full of raillery

mischievous laugh

Me, laughing at something I probably shouldn’t laugh at

You may find yourself regularly poking fun at lines regurgitated from news segments across several channels. Stumbling upon awkward pauses on special news broadcasts is fun. Catching grammatical errors in the local daily makes you giggle a sanctimonious giggle.

You delight in printed mistakes by others.

And pride comes before a fall.

Young wordsmith, you need to learn that, though editing for kicks is fun, humans by nature make mistakes.

“Humans” includes you. You will occasionally omit a comma needed for clarification. You will ironically type “they’re” when you meant to type “they” in a blog post touting the merits of journalists as copywriters.

“Soul” will catch your eye when you meant to write “sole.” Whew, you noticed your crime before submitting that piece.

You will write goofy things. And you will blush.

But the most valuable tool in your box is a good sense of humor. Laugh when you make a mistake, and you will spare yourself much emotional turmoil. Take your mistake and grow from it. Perhaps an additional pass at your work will save you the trouble of the error next time.

And while you’re developing your toolbox, a thick skin will also aid you when you come under scrutiny by mean-spirited know-it-alls like yourself.

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