Writing Tip: Read Your Writing Aloud

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Most of us write silently and then read and revise silently. That will improve your writing, but if you really, really, really want to make it flow when others read it, read it aloud to yourself.

You’ll be amazed at what you hear. Sentences that looked fine laying there on the page will twist your tongue into tortured knots. Concepts that you just knew were explained with crystalline clarity will suddenly seem murky. Poorly chosen words and phrases will grate on your ear like they never did on your eye.

So, before you let that blog post or article or chapter go, read it aloud. Then, make the necessary changes and read it aloud again. Publish when your piece reads easily.

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What People Are Saying

Gwyn Teatro   |   02 Nov 2011   |   Reply

One the of reasons I like to write in a quiet, private place is that I always read my stuff aloud, often several times over, to make sure that the tone of it aligns with the intent. I’m so glad to have read that this is a *good* thing!
Great advice, as always, Wally. Thank you for putting it out there.

Wally   |   02 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Thanks, Gwyn. In addition to sharing your experience, you count as the first official responder on my new blog.

Gwyn Teatro   |   02 Nov 2011   |  

Congratulation, Wally! I’m honoured to be the first of what I know will be many commenters and will look forward to reading more!

Tanveer Naseer   |   02 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Hi Wally,

Like Gwyn, I also read out loud my writings, mainly when I’m at the point of proofing and doing the final edit. Prior to that, I focus more on getting ideas down and then seeing which one of them will fit together into a cohesive piece.

Glad to see I’m in good company in adhering to this practice.

By the way, congrats Wally on the launch of this new site. Looking forward to seeing what other insights you share here on the art of writing.

Wally   |   03 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Thanks, Tanveer. I find that I do best when the reading out loud comes before final edits and the proofreading comes after the edits. I wouldn’t necessarily follow me on that practice, though, because I am one awful proofreader.

Tanmay Vora   |   02 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Hi Wally,

Loud reading also helps in clarifying the thought process and identify the missing links. As you rightly said, it also generates a lot of simplicity in writing.

Congratulations on this new blog and thanks for sharing simple yet very useful advice.


Wally   |   03 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Thank you, Tanmay. I think that multiple reviews, regardless of form, make the final product better.

Louise Altman   |   03 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Hi Wally,
Great reminder – when I remember – about half the time – I always find something to tweak. In fact, I think, it really helps before the 1st and last edit.Love to hear more about this and the topic of writing. Because I think I am a better speaker than writer, I’ve been tempted to go down the DragonSpeak (?) road….I often wonder what other writers think about that?
Congrats on the launch, I look forward to your content!

Wally   |   03 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Thanks, Louise. However you do it, it seems to work. I think you create some of the clearest prose out there. I dictated my first drafts for a year or so, but, at least for me, they required far more revision than the ones I create at the keyboard. I think that everyone who writes needs to find the way that works best for them. A friend of mine who is a screenwriter speaks his material into a recorder, then edits it an puts it in screenplay format as he listens to it.

iphone 5 release date 2011   |   07 Nov 2011   |   Reply

Fantastic article. I’m going through several these difficulties.