Great Writers Read Aloud

Writers and bloggers, if you’re not reading your works aloud before publishing or posting them, you’ll never be a great writer.

Your writer eyes are blind to seeing the flaws in whatever you write until you take it away from the computer and read it aloud.

To edit your own work, do this:

1. Always print your works-in-process often. Author Anne Lamott says, “Don’t be afraid to kill a few trees. Just recycle.” (I turn the pages over and put them back through the printer so both sides are used.)

2. Read your writing with fresh eyes. Take it away from the computer. Change seats, go outside in the sun or to the living room couch. Just get away from the desk in order to re-see what you have written with fresh eyes.

3. Grab a highlighter before you go. Why? See #5.

4. Read your writing aloud. Stand up. Face a window or sliding glass door. Imagine the entire world is your audience, out beyond the glass. Read in your big oratory voice as though you’re at the front of a huge audience.

5. Whenever you stumble, tick the words or line with a highlighter. Rework those passages when you return to your writing desk.

6. Allow your writing to grow cold. Leave it alone. Don’t read it for at least a week, longer if possible. Return to it with fresh eyes. Read aloud again, and listen for what needs changed.

During a recent #litchat on Twitter, author Maggie Dana, said it best:

Reading one’s own stuff aloud can really highlight mistakes, not just typos but pace, rhythm, and flow.

Do you read your work aloud?

Please a comment at the bottom of the blog post.

5 thoughts on “Great Writers Read Aloud

  1. Great tips, Debra! And they really work. I’ve put things aside for days and came back to them and thought, “What was I thinking?! That is so long-winded and run-on.”

    I’ve found that it makes a huge difference when you hear yourself, because as
    you said “Your writer’s eyes are blind to the seeing the flaws…”

    Excellent tips and reminders.

  2. Love this, Debra. I’ve already learned a great deal working with you on my editing. This is a great addition. Thinking creatively, I am going to try the above mentioned tips while adding some movement to the game. I’m thinking stretching while reading, or doing jumping jacks between pages. Hey, it may even generate the energy that would be needed for that imaginary audience.

    Wow, look how your post got my juices flowing.


    • Whoo-hoo, Patty! LOVE this idea to incorporate movement as part of the “step away from the desk” activity to read pages. Love that this post set the juices flowing. Believing: great minds add to others. Thanks for sharing your tips too. I’m getting up from the desk right now for some stretching. Thank you!

  3. Wonderful advice, Debra! I either read to the birds in the trees or to a very patient and supportive friend, and it always helps. The sound in your head is something completely different from the way it actually reads.

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