It’s a moment every writer knows. That last half second before you hit “send” when your finger hovers over the mouse like a guillotine, and you take one last deep, nervous breath. That last millisecond before putting your work out into the world when something stops you cold.
I’m not talking about the dozen or so previous last half seconds when crippling insecurity and self-flagellation stayed your hand. I mean the one when you catch a little error—an ill-placed word, a “your” where “you’re” should be; “except” when you meant “excerpt”.
I call this the spinach in your teeth moment.
If you have a piece of spinach stuck to your tooth, you can be sure that that’s the only thing people will see. No matter how good you look, that rogue shard of roughage will steal the spotlight. So you take one last look in the mirror, flash your toothiest grin, and get the all clear.
Do the same thing with the written pieces that leave your desk. Take a “spinach in your teeth moment” to make sure all your “its” and “it’s” are how they should be and “I before E except after C” and all that.
You have important things to say and you’ve laboured to put them just right. It would be a shame to let a simple little spelling error take even a moment of the attention.