Get Over Blogger Embarrassment

Do you ever feel embarrassed as a blogger? Maybe the grammar police came a-calling. Or maybe you forgot to post when readers were expecting something. Or maybe you missed a publicly self-imposed deadline. Here's what I have to say to that: lighten up!

Coming to Terms with Typos

Blogging is a relatively casual and conversational medium and yet we sometimes get worked up over simple things. It's okay to have typos from time to time. Anyone who knows anything about blogs knows that they're an instant publishing platform.

Ignoring that and trying to pre-plan everything weeks in advance just so you can have fully fresh eyes for editing defeats part of the purpose of blogging. You can't stay on top of the latest issues in your niche or industry that way. Remember, you're not writing for a literary magazine.

That doesn't mean you should publish any old drivel that spews from your fingers. At least take the time to give it a read-through -- preferably aloud. Then hit that publish button and move on to something else. Blogging isn't about perfectionism. And yes, I know your blog is a living, breathing writing sample if you work as a writer. But that doesn't mean your blog has to be as formal as a client project.

If clients want absolute perfection, that's one thing. You should have more professional portfolio samples for them to review. And if they hire you to blog for them and they want to let posts sit for days or weeks before editing and publication, that's on them. But it doesn't have to rule your own blog, and it doesn't mean you should feel embarrassed when little things slip through the cracks.

Dealing with the Grammar Police

If those grammar police stop by to point out your typos, how can you handle it? First, don't let them get to you. Remember, these are people with such a sad existence that they have nothing better to do than troll blogs to criticize your writing.

You can ignore them if you want to. You don't have to let a few typos weigh you down. Most people (again, those who actually understand the blogging medium) do not care unless the errors are a constant problem. Another option is to fix the problems and leave a quick "thanks" in the comments.

When they're obvious trolls, I personally don't mind confronting them about it outright. But if we're talking about a really silly error or a regular reader pointing something out, I suggest the "quick fix and be done with it" method.

Returning from a Blogging Break

The embarrassment bug tends to hit me more when I get distracted with other projects and I can't blog for a while. I've gotten better about consistency over the years and have learned to bring in other contributors to help out when I need to. But in the past I'd come back after a blogging break and the first thing I would do is post an apology.

Stupid move on my part. That's the last thing you should do. First of all, no one actually cares as much as you do. They're over it. If anything, regulars are happy to see you back. Or at least they'd be happy if you'd shut up with the apologies and get back to offering real content.

A better approach? Jump on a timely issue and cover it as though you were never gone. Leave the apologies alone or at least confined to the comments if anyone gets snippy. Don't assume you owe one, and don't be embarrassed by the fact that you're human and you have a life outside of your blog.

What kinds of things embarrass you the most as a blogger, and how do you react in those situations? Do you possibly make it worse by bringing more attention to the issue, or are you able to shrug it off and get back to business? Share your thoughts, stories, and tips in the comments below.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

28 thoughts on “Get Over Blogger Embarrassment”

  1. Hi Jenn-I wrote a post a while back that asks if typos exist to show we’re human. If so, I must be very human-good to know. 🙂

    Typos do bug me on my business writing site as, hey, it’s a business writing site. I hooked up with one of my readers to watch each other’s back when it comes to typos. They drive us mad so if we see one on the other’s site, we’ll DM a quick Tweet. You’re right, we do need to lighten up. I’ve gotten better at it, but it still gets to me-just not on the level it used to.

    Recently, I had two situations where I was embarrassed. The good news was both times happened in private. And here’s the interesting thing. Both times I had gotten really angry over some poor customer service.

    I found out I was wrong about one of the things I was complaining about and even included it in my blog post draft. I discovered it before I published so I was able to change it. I’m not much of a ranter (as you know) 🙂 so the one time I decided to, I could have really embarrassed myself with inaccurate information.

    Life lesson – be sure before you rant. I know what you’re going to say-it’s okay to be wrong. And admitting it endears you to your readers. In this case, I was glad I caught it first. As it turned out, it wasn’t the issue, it was a by-product of my escalating anger at customer service.

    We really do need to cut ourselves some slack and turn off that inner, nagging voice. Some of us simply have years of conditioning to undo. 🙂

    • That sounds like a good plan. You don’t have to set things aside. Your blog can remain “with it” when it comes to timely material. And you both get a set of fresh eyes. Win-win-win. 🙂

      I agree completely that it’s better to find errors before publishing. My issue is when people obsess over even the tiniest of things after something is published. Most readers just don’t care. It’s as though bloggers feel like they have to be perfect. They don’t. They just have to have something worth saying.

  2. I do have a ‘pet peeve’ about typos. I know I’m not perfect and will miss typos here and there, but I prefer to catch them before I post my blog. If another blogger alerts me about my typos, I could turn it around and say, “Fantastic! You found my typos. I was wondering if anyone was paying attention.” Also, I just found that you’re not supposed to double-space after a period. I’ll probably be wondering if other writers or readers will notice that I do double space. I can’t help it if my teachers didn’t ‘receive the memo’ or were too ‘old school’ to change. Sigh.

      • Could be wrong, but I think that’s pretty much official in all the major style manuals these days. Double spacing became obsolete when we moved from typewriters (every character having the same amount of space) to word processors where things are more automatically spaced for readability.

    • If anything drives me crazy, it’s the double space issue. I don’t care if a blogger does it. But when clients give me documents to edit and I have to fix that throughout, it drives me up a wall.

      I could be wrong, but I believe WordPress actually strips out extra spaces automatically. Or is that only between lines? Now I’m curious.

  3. I agree that we have years of conditioning to undo. It still bugs me. I am like you Cathy, I partnered up with others that “have my back” to help cut down on the feeling of embarrassment.

  4. Interesting post. Re — typos. We’re all human, we make mistakes. However, I go back once I’ve posted to re-read what I’ve posted, and that’s’ when I catch most of my typos. And then I fix them. If someone regularly leaves up blogs with typos, I stop visiting. To me, it shows a lack of professionalism. If someone can’t be bothered to proofread, of doesn’t think a mere blog is worth clean copy, I don’t really trust them on content, either. I don’t call them out on it — it’s not up to me. But I stop visiting.

    RE: Grammar Police. In class, I’m a taskmaster. On other people’s blogs, I simply don’t think it’s my business. If some random person trolls in and is a pain on my blog, I ignore/block them. If I’ve actually gotten facts wrong, I double-check the counterpoint, and, if necessary, address it in a future post. Of course, sometimes they’re just delusional, and the disagreement has nothing to do with facts. Then, yeah, I’ll respond.

    As someone who reads a lot of copy, I need the two spaces after the period. I still use it, and, if someone submits to me, I request it in the guidelines. If I am specifically told to only use one, then I do. Otherwise, I continue to use two. I’ve yet to have a piece rejected because of the number of spaces after a sentence. I’m sure that will happen at some point, but, until then . . .

    Regarding absences, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a break. Simply post and say, “I’m on deadline, miss you, be back when I can.” It’s when people disappear and then whine about it that I get irked and don’t come back. If I can MAKE the time to stop by someone’s blog, that’s taking away from my own writing time, that person can take 15 minutes to create regular content. Blogging has become part of most writers’ jobs at this point. A blogger who says, “I don’t have time to blog” is slapping readers in the face, saying “You are not worth 15 minutes of my time.” If I am not worth that person’s time, that person is certainly not worth my time. Buh-bye. Link deleted.

    We all have times when we can’t blog. But, if someone has set a precedent for regular blogging, it’s part of the gig to either stay on top of it or post something that says you’re taking a break. Just disappearing is unfair and also, in this day and age, for all we know, could mean the blogger had a heart attack or is in the hospital or drove off a cliff.

    Blogging is a contract between writer and reader, and each side has to respect the other.

    • I generally put my posts in preview mode and read them aloud before publishing. If I happen to schedule it for a later date, I might reread it the day it goes live and catch something else. But that only happens if it posts on a work day (I post here most Fridays for example, but I’m off at that point so I don’t generally reread anything until I check in on Monday). If there are a lot of comments on a post I might reread it even later just to refresh myself on the conversation points, especially if it’s an older post. But other than that, it gets one read-through and it goes live.

      The only reasons I might stop reading a blog due to typos would be:

      A. Typos exist in every few sentences and that’s the norm for the blog. If they won’t read through at least once, why should I?

      B. The typos make the blog posts unreadable.

      I don’t consider typos in general to be unprofessional. But that comes down to being able to separate the nature of blogging from more professional writing. As professional writers, I understand why some colleagues take bigger issue with it. But I also tend to think they’re too anal. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of blogging and with my dozens of current and former blogs it’s that perfectionism does not help you reach your goals. Blogs work well for your business and / or your platform-building because you know how to connect with your audience. You give them something of interest, and your blogs can bring in income, help you sell services, or simply attract regular readers. Unless you’re writing a blog about grammar, errors here and there won’t hurt you. But obsessing over them will. It takes valuable time away from growing the blog and connecting with its audience. Sometimes you just have to know when to step aside and move on to something else.

      As for going away, I agree to a point. If you know you’re going away, it’s a good idea to let people know. But sometimes it isn’t expected, and I do think it’s unfair to say a blogger should stop by and post. If they’re not posting because they’re lazy, that’s one thing. But they do not have the obligation to post on a frequent basis. I can post once this week, five times next week, and three the following week. As the blogger, that’s my call. Consistency means not letting the blog sit idle for too long. But if I want a personal day, I’ll take it. If I need a sick day, I’ll take it. If I make last minute plans to have a life, I’m not worrying about my blogs. If there’s an emergency, that blog will be the last thing on my mind. Life comes first. Always. And I do not believe that bloggers have to answer to their readers. You provide content and conversations. If people enjoy them, they’ll come back. If they don’t, then they won’t. And if they don’t, the blogger will naturally change what they’re doing or the blog (like countless every day) will fail. But no, I’ll never apologize for having a life outside of my blog. I don’t love it when blogs regularly have a long between-post period. But if it’s an occasional thing, I don’t consider it much of a waste to spend a few seconds checking their site. And if it worried me that much on a regular basis, I’d use a feed reader — never having to visit any un-updated blogs.

    • Not going to hassle you about an error in comments here. 😉

      And no, we don’t allow comment editing. But there’s always a live preview below the comment box so you can preview a comment as you type (or before hitting the “submit comment” button). 🙂

  5. I’ve had to forcibly prevent myself from apologizing or explaining erratic posting schedule in recent weeks, too. I think as you said, folks would be happier to read something a little more substantive than my shame :).

    • Absolutely. I used to apologize even when a break was announced (mostly on my old PR blog). It was full of heated discussions, and sometimes I just need a break from that. And I have no problem taking one. If anything I found subscribers even increased while I was on hiatus. People wanted to know right away when I came back. But they didn’t want my “apologies for not posting in a while.” They wanted to see what I had to say. That’s why they read your blog or subscribe after all. You give them something they want. So my philosophy now is that it’s better to just give it to them. You owe them the kind of content they subscribed to when you actually have something to say. You don’t owe them explanations.

  6. One of the first things you learn in Toastmasters is to never, ever start a speech by apologizing, admitting you don’t like public speaking, saying you’re nervous, etc. I think you’re right that a similar rule applies here. (And even though I haven’t been a member for years, I highly recommend Toastmasters to freelancers who want to shore up their presentation skills.)

    With regard to typos, I feel sorry for the people who obsess on that kind of minutiae. If I spy a typo in a headline or a major goof in a friend’s blog, I’ll drop ’em a heads-up note — just as I hope one of y’all would alert me if I did something dumb and easily fixed.

    • Agreed. Headlines are another thing altogether. A typo in a headline will probably lose me. That’s less than a sentence. You can make sure that’s correct and that it gets your point across. I have to admit it amuses me when I see a blogger corrected a headline typo but didn’t correct it in the permalink. Of course you really shouldn’t change the permalink if a post has been up a while unless you know how to 301 redirect the old page to the new one so you don’t lose traffic and backlinks. But if you catch a headline error right after posting, that’s important to remember. Your permalinks can still give you away. I don’t know why that amuses me. I just embrace the little things that do. 🙂

  7. LOL – Did you write this post in response to the guy outing my typo on an old post? Typos happen. Life happens. I’ll go in and correct that particular typo later today when I’m on my home computer. I hate the feeling of being called out on a typo or mistake, but I like the red flag that goes along with it as a reminder to slow down and take more care with work. Being called out once or twice makes you very aware of any future mistakes as well.

    • lol No. Actually I’d been wanting to do a post on perfectionism since the recent comment exchange here where Peter Bowerman brought it up. And the typo issue is one that periodically comes up here because I refuse to be anal about such things on a casual blog and that drives the occasional visiting grammar nazi bonkers.

  8. My most embarrassing moment was when an editor corrected something I’d written and completely changed the meaning – making me sound like a complete idiot. A reader emailed me about it and I had no clue how long the error had been there for thousands of people to see. Now that’s one case when I appreciate someone catching an error, I don’t care how rude they are about it.

  9. Great post! I actually had this happen to me recently. I had eye surgery so my vision was slightly blurry. But as a result, I missed a lot of errors in a blog post. I had a commenter say all of the mistakes detracted from the post itself. I felt horrible and apologized immediately. Guess based on all the comments here, I shouldn’t have done that.

  10. I agree. Post, check and move on. I correct later if I notice a typo in an article which I had missed before but we can’t be paranoid, otherwise we will not be blogging.

    I am not bothered about the spelling and grammar police who are everywhere. As an example I was pounced on for using the word “plaintiff” instead of “plaintive” on Twitter – yes, Twitter. Either people should be interested in our content or they should go somewhere else. We can do without the trolls.

    Great post, thanks, Jen.

  11. When the grammar cops come calling on my blog (and the typo police), I admit to it and change it. Then I move on. It’s rare that anyone has decided to dwell on my mistakes – maybe because I admit to them instead of argue the rationale behind why I misspelled “judgement” or “kerfluffle.” 🙂

    I get embarrassed when I make the mistakes, but it happens.

    I agree with you completely on the blogging breaks. No one really cares that much about a break in content (though we worry). Apologizing makes it sound intentional, whereas just moving on sounds as though you were waiting for the right topic. 🙂

    • I don’t find that people really dwell on typos. They just use the same tired old argument that if you write for a living how dare you ever make a mistake. They’re frequently ignorant about different mediums, audiences, types of writers, etc. I also find they tend to be people with a journalistic background who want to hold blogs to their same standards. As far as I’m concerned that type is out of date and they can stick it. As for the ones who troll multiple blogs just looking for mistakes to bitch about, frankly I’d like to see them run a blog on grammar so the rest of us could rightly do the same to them.

    • Sounds like a good setup. 🙂 I’m all for friends not letting friends publish garbage. I just hate seeing bloggers obsess to the point where they focus so much on perfection in writing that they miss out on a lot blogging has to offer.

  12. A few typos won’t matter, until someone disagrees with your viewpoint. Some commenters will come on saying, “If you’re going to take this side, learn how to spell. It’s And, not ad.” They’ll pick on an insignificant word that doesn’t have anything to do with the argument.

    My blogger embarassment is not knowing what to blog about.


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