How do I fix a mistake?
Help! I made a factual error in a story, and it got
through my editors. It was the date of an upcoming event,
so now city officials are mad at me. My editor pointed it
out after the mayor's secretary called her. Ever since, my
editor has been giving me odd looks, like she doesn't trust
me. What can I do to get myself back into her good graces?
To err is human, to correct divine. Admit your mistake, correct
it promptly, dust yourself off and tell your editor you will
not do it again and don't.
To keep a mistake from happening again, you need to know
why it happened in the first place. Notes too sloppy? Not
double-checking information with your source? Writing off
the top of your head or rewriting in a hurry and not double-checking
facts from your notebook? You need to correct not just the
mistake but whatever you did to cause it.
Factual errors undermine credibility. Get a reputation as
someone who "gets stuff wrong," and only the wrong stuff will
happen to your career. Everyone makes mistakes. Distinguish
yourself from the crowd by not repeating them.
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