Tag Archives: art

Life Is A Typo

1 Jun

It was the day before the launch of my first book. It was a warm day in San Francisco—over 80 degrees—and even warmer in the East Bay. I had taken a 45-minute BART ride to Berkeley and rode my bike up the seemingly endless hill to the Haas Business School.

I was supposed to speak to an undergraduate class about millennials and meaningful work, and when I arrived, I was sweating balls. Two minutes later, I was told by the professor that there had been a mix-up with the schedule and I couldn’t speak.

I was pissed that I had wasted about an hour and a half each way on the day before my launch.

Then my sister called me and said, “Sorry, Adam, I just wanted to let you know I caught a typo in your book.”

I started freaking out since my launch was the next day and people were already buying the paperback on Amazon.

My sister said matter-of-factly, “Adam: nobody cares.”

I was like, “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN NOBODY CARES?!!!”

She replied, “I mean, nobody cares about the typo. They just want to read your book. They’re not reading it to judge your grammar, they’re reading it because they want to know what you have to say. They’re reading it because they want to be inspired.”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I knew she was right.

We get so caught up in our own heads about the smallest details. We become obsessed with perfection in our work. I sometimes get so obsessed I’ll stare at an email for 45 minutes, tweaking each sentence, bolding some words, italicizing others, making sure the tone is perfect.

But sometimes you just need to press send. If you spend a year on a project and it’s ready for the world to see, it’s time to get it out there, even if it’s not 100% perfect.

Press send. Ship it.

I’m not saying you should release something you haven’t worked hard on. Don’t ship something that’s crap. But if it’s a product that you’ve spent many months or years on; something that will make peoples’ lives better, then get it out there.

Nothing about writing is perfect. Nothing about self-publishing is even close to perfect. I could have spent months, shit, YEARS, getting my book to be just right, and you know what? Inevitably, someone somewhere would catch a typo. Inevitably, the printer will make the gray text box too dark. Inevitably, the formatting will look slightly different on each of the 18 Kindle-friendly devices people can read it on. Inevitably, when someone sets the font to 42-Comic Sans, the book will look weird. Inevitably, I’ll think of a word I wish I had used or the perfect anecdote, two months after the book is published.

Inevitably, your final product won’t be perfect. Inevitably, on the day before your launch, you’ll waste three hours of your day and get really sweaty and feel hopeless.

Making something is embracing its imperfection. If Apple can release a new iOS update every couple of months, then you can make a few revisions too.

Life is a typo. Press send anyway. Press it now.

A version of this post also appeared in Medium.

-Smiley Poswolsky

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