There's this little thing called your brain. And inside that brain, as you may have heard, are lots and lots of neurons. Our thoughts and memories are dependent upon those neurons connecting through intricate pathways. Once they connect through those pathways, over and over again, memories can be easily stored and retrieved. These pathways are like flattened grass in a field, dirt-covered trails in the woods, and those welcome tire tracks on the highway after a heavy snowfall. They are the easiest paths to take.
But what if that memory is incorrect, i.e., you've typed the word "on" but you meant the word "one"? Once it is set in stone, or goo, or however you want to describe that gray matter in your head, it's hard to see it another way. And that's the problem.
It makes we wonder, and gives me a fright
Why they show these ads, night after night
What happened here was my mind was thinking about the word "wonder" while I was typing "me." So the "waa" sound got imparted onto "me" and turned it into "we." I was ahead of the game. Brilliant. See?
We make mistakes because these things called computers with their keyboards and such still aren't up to par with the capabilities and speed of the human mind. Should we slow down our thoughts until our hands catch up? What good would that do? Some of the best ideas come when our minds race at breakneck speed. Why interrupt that flow to catch a few typos?
When it comes to editing, everyone is guilty of missing typos. It's back to that old pathway thing. When you read a sentence or a paragraph over and over again on the screen, seeing it the same way on a letter-sized document on the screen, for instance, it sorta digs the trench deeper. Our minds fill in the mistakes with the way we heard them in our head. We are so brilliant that we autocorrect. The best way to jump out of that trench and recreate a new pathway is to look at your writing in a different way.
Print it out on paper. Reformat the document with different margins so words shift around. View it on a different device, like a tablet or phone. Have it read back to you with a text-to-speech program. Or have a proof copy printed and read it like a finished book. Suddenly, typos jump off the page. They scream back at you. It makes your stomach ache and your heart plunge. Oh my god, I look so stupid. How did I not see that?!
You didn't see that...because you're brilliant.
Also read: How to Edit Your Own Book