But, do you actually read your work out loud?
Experts across all genres recommend reading your work out loud as part of your editing process. There’s something about hearing a piece spoken out loud that makes it easy to spot weak spots. I use this technique on everything from blog posts to essays to short stories to business correspondence. I’m never sorry I did it.
Jane Friedman wrote on the Writer’s Digest blog about how reading her work out loud helped her reveal filler, expose boring descriptions, and hone her voice. Joanna Penn produced a video about how reading her novel Pentecost out loud (start to finish) helped her improve consistency, dialog, pacing, and also spot typos. In an interview with Fast Company, David Sedaris said, “I used to hate it when a book came out or a story was published and I would be like ‘damn, how did I not catch that?’ But you pretty much always catch it when you’re reading out loud.” In addition to reading his pieces out loud to himself, Sedaris also vets new book material by reading out loud to an audience.
Do a quick Google search, and you’ll find plenty more writers and teachers who strongly recommend reading your work out loud as part of your editing process.
So, do it. You’ll be amazed.
And, if you feel silly, try reading to your dog, cat, or teddy bear. I do that all the time. It helps, and they seem to like it. Even the teddy bear.
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.