How to Become a Better Writer and Get Readers Loving You

How to Become a Better Writer and Get Readers Loving You

Here’s today’s writing tip on how to be a better writer: Don’t write.

Now, when I say ‘don’t write’, I don’t mean you should take a break or get away from the keyboard for a day. That’s just common sense, and you should already be taking frequent breaks. When I say ‘don’t write’, I mean you should stop writing and start listening to what you’ve written.

Yes, I mean reading your work aloud.

Okay, wait just a second here. Don’t roll your eyes that way. I know you’ve seen this writing tip before. It’s all over the place, because plenty of experts (and not-so-experts) suggest reading aloud as a way to improve your work for sparkling copy.

But if you’re like most writers (and you probably are), you’ve read the ‘read aloud’ tip already. You’ve nodded, smiled and completely ignored it.

You don’t need to do that. You’re a good writer already.

Or are you?

Take me, for example. I’m a fair hand with Mr. QWERTY. We’re on good terms, he and I. I know I write well, my posts get attention, my web copy sells. I write using all the usual good-practice techniques I’m supposed to use: keep it simple, keep it clear, and write like you speak.

Well, until I actually spoke, that is. Then it all went to hell in a hand basket.

You see, I had this brilliant idea that I wanted to record some audio files. (Yes, you’ll get to hear my voice more often.) So I sat down with my gadgety gear, determined to give it a whirl. I figured I’d just talk aloud for a few minutes. You know, to practice. To get used to it. To work out the kinks.

That was just about the worst idea ever.

If you’ve ever done audio, you know what I’m talking about. You have to get over the surprise of hearing your own voice, now that it’s not echoing in your head and a full tone different from what you thought it was. Frankly, you think you sound like a dork. (Even if you don’t.)

You feel like a dork, too, because you’re sitting there talking to yourself about whatever comes to mind. Chickens. Ice skating. That you need to paint your office a better color. What you’ll eat for supper.

And while you’re debating whether you’ll have cream or tomato sauce with your pasta, you try on a few different voices to figure out which one sounds best for what you want to do. (Big dork.)

Then you pause to wonder why no one has ever told you how much of a dork you are. Sheesh. Some friends, eh?

Anyways, by this point, I realized talking to myself wasn’t working, so I grabbed a post of mine and decided to read that aloud. I wouldn’t have to fumble about, and I could practice sounding smarter than I am. Great idea. Dorkiness, begone!

Right?

Wrong.

When you read aloud, everything wrong with your writing suddenly leaps out at you. You hear the awkward sentences, you spot a word you should’ve replaced with a better one, and you catch phrases that just don’t sound right.

In fact, you start to wonder how you ever missed all these glaring errors. Not only are you a dork, you’re an idiot!

It’s not your fault. You never saw them – because you didn’t hear them.

The Powerful Benefits of Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is a valuable exercise to improve your writing. Your words become crystal clear, and they’ll convey a more powerful, effective message that gets you better results. Here’s why:

You’ll spot paragraphs that end abruptly. You’ll notice transitions between ideas aren’t as smooth as you thought they were. You’ll hear if your introduction sounds weak or choppy, and you’ll discover whether your wrap-up encourages conversation or just stops it cold.

That’s when you can make your writing better. You can rework it and nip all the awkwardness so that you create flow between paragraphs, clarify your ideas, expand on skimpy sections, and hone the perfect lead-in and wrap-up.

Read it aloud once more, give it a last polish, and voila! Excellence.

Reading aloud lets you craft great writing, but that’s not really why you should do it. No one actually gives a damn about the calibre of your sentence structure or whether it’s sheer art on a computer screen in Arial 12.

You should read your work aloud because it helps you provide people with a better reading experience – not because they have an easier time reading, but because they have an easier time hearing. Literally.

We Have Voices in Our Heads

No, you aren’t crazy, but you do hear voices in your head. All the time, in fact, and it’s perfectly normal.

It’s called sub-vocalization, which is a natural brain process we use while we read. As we read, we imagine the sounds of words and ‘hear’ them in our minds. That’s pretty important, because sub-vocalization helps us understand more of what we’ve read and remember it longer.

(I bet those ‘read aloud’ posts you’ve come across before never told you that, did they!)

By reading aloud, you can improve your writing to help it sound even better during the sub-vocalization process your readers are going to go through when they get their eyes on your words. That means they’ll grasp your razor-sharp message perfectly, learn from it quickly and understand it clearly.

They might even tell their friends about it. Extra reader win.

By the way, sub-vocalization is a handy little process to keep in mind when you’ve spent money to take a course or buy an info-product. Don’t just read it. Read it aloud. You’ll learn more, understand it better and remember it longer.

If it’s well written, that is.

Have You Lost Your Voice?

There’s another reason you might want to read your work aloud, and it’s one that other writers won’t tell you about: Reading aloud helps you find your writing voice.

Finding your writing voice is a common problem. Writers – especially new ones – tend to get confused about the ‘voice’ they should use.
So use your real voice to find your writing voice. Pick up something you wrote, read it aloud, and think about the way that voice sounds to you. Do you like that tone? Does the style match your personality? Should it sound more authoritative or a little friendlier?

What about consistency? Are you carrying your voice the whole way through your work? You might have subconsciously switched ‘voices’ midway. The intro sounds like you, but further down the page, something changed. In fact, the first time you read your work aloud, you might think, “Wow, that doesn’t sound like me at all.”

Even when you’d been sure the voice was a perfect fit.

It’s hard to figure out writing ‘voice’ unless we actually hear what we sound like for ourselves. So go ahead, play around and try on different voices until you find the one you like best.

I bet you’ll never lose it again.

Reading Aloud Without Saying a Word

Here’s another great tip for reading aloud: Don’t do it.

Let someone else read to you. It can be distracting to read your own work to yourself while trying to pay attention to what you hear and take notes on where you should make corrections at the same time. You’ll probably miss a bunch of improvements you should’ve made.

Print out a copy of your work and ask a friend to read aloud to you, or use text-to-speech software like Natural Readers (free!). When someone else reads to you, it makes focusing on listening a breeze. Sit back and pay attention to every word.

Once you get good at reading aloud, you can switch up the game by using speech-to-text software, like Dragon NaturallySpeaking or MacSpeech Dictate. These programs let you skip the writing phase so you can just say what you want to say – the software converts your voice to text and the words magically appear on the screen. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s a lot of fun to use.

Hit publish, and you’re all done!

What about you? Do you read your work aloud? Have you noticed a difference in the quality of your writing? What do your readers think? Oh, and just in case you’re wondering… yes, I read this post out loud.

Many people ask me about Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Is it worth it? Does it work?

Yes, and yes. It's very easy to use, I've found it highly accurate, and I've had the program in my toolbox for years. Several other prominent people swear by it too, like Jon Morrow and Mark McGuiness.

The trick is actually using it. Get accustomed to talking out loud. Create lots of drafts and rework them. Practice, and give it a chance – because the time you'll save 'writing' is well worth it.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. Great post.

    I have never actually read aloud my writing. Because, well, I did not know about it, and I couldn’t be bothered to do it.

    But now, as you mention, that it can bring great benefits.

    I was going to ask you ‘did you also read aloud this post?’, but you answered it in the ending. I guess that’s why this post sounds like someone was naturally speaking to me.

    Nabeel

    P.S.Typo in post:

    “What do your readers thing (think)?” I guess you did read aloud this post, but the typo got missed in the end! and a typo in a writing article…lol

  2. I downloaded the natural reader software and it is really easy to use. Select the text, press F9 and you hear your own blogpost read out loud.

    The free version sounds very mechanical, but it is just great (and with great I mean strange) to hear my own writings.

    Very helpfull, thanks a lot!
    .-= Annemieke´s last blog ..Inner Drive or Navigation from Outside =-.

  3. Cool post.

    This is a good idea, but it makes me SO damn uncomfortable that I really loathe doing it. Why? Because I write something, then I feel like I’ve done a good job. Sure, I’ll tweak it a little.

    Talking aloud (the first time I tried it) really showed me how MUCH I had yet to fix. For writing/blogging newbies, it’s a pretty confrontational exercise.

    Useful though. I’ll do it – but I don’t have to enjoy it! ;)

  4. I prefer to have someone else read it aloud to me. Since I wrote it, my mind tends to wander onto the next task on my list. For some reason, it’s easier for me to focus on another reader then myself. :)
    .-= Heather Villa´s last blog ..Weekend Reading: My fav’s from this week: 6/18/10 =-.

  5. Great piece James.

    For the first time since I started reading MwP I find myself going “oh, hey. I´ve done that for years…”

    Hehe, I´m so used to it, in fact, I don´t think it helps anymore. What it does, is I hear how the text sounds while I write it, and pretty accurately too. This is not a good thing when my writing sucks and I don´t catch it because I´m so used to the sound of my “writing voice”.

    Either that, or my writing´s just awesome! ha ha ;)

    I´ll need to rely on other self-evaluation techniques :)

    I read aloud anyway, you know. Almost everything. Mostly out of habit I think. (Maybe I correct my writing and improve it without realising it´s because of the reading?)
    .-= Þórey Ómars´s last blog ..Top 5 Things for (extremely) Shy Writers to Think About When Introducing Themselves and Their Work to Strangers. =-.

  6. I did an audio earlier this year and after three tries to record it I decided that I wouldn’t read, I’d just write dot points and talk from those. Why? Because every time I wrote the script and the read it I’d want to change it. Every single time. Not quite what you’re referring to here though James.

    I used to read my posts out loud and for some reason I stopped. No idea why. Thanks for the reminder to get back to it.

    And did you eventually get the audio recorded? You didn’t mention the final outcome of this….
    .-= Melinda | SuperWAHM´s last blog ..The Clean Shower Guide to Marketing =-.

  7. I had heard about this technique a while back but had never used it regularly as part of my editing process. Then, a few years ago, a client hired me to write a series of video scripts. I HAD to read these out loud. And guess what? I edited the crap out of them. In fact, I went through about 10 or 15 editing rounds , all a result of reading them out loud until they sounded very natural. The client loved my work! Since then, I read all my copy out loud. Great tip! It works!!

  8. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Great idea James. Plus it’s neat you added the links to the read aloud software. These are great resources and accommodations for EVERYONE.

    Many schools are introducing software programs like these for kids who struggle with reading and concentrating, including people with learning disabilities, ADHD, physical, intellectual, and visual difficulties… but like velcro and zippers and other things that meet a need for people with disabilities, they are useful for all of us.

  9. Thanks for the reinforcement on this technique that I was using, I did not know that it was an actual writing technique. I was told in school that my writing was awful and to stay away from it(what do teachers know anyhow)…here I am many years later writing and loving it.
    Once I learned that I was better at conversational writing I relaxed and found my voice. So reading the articles and posts are quite natural for me and I can hear instantly if it works or doesn’t.
    As always great information
    Thanks
    .-= elaine shannon´s last blog ..The Problem with Paper Clutter: Creating a Paper Management System =-.

  10. Excellent post James.
    I rarely hear the phrase “hell in a hand basket” anymore. It’s one my mother used to use when me and my siblings were growing up. And now for the life of me, I can’t remember if it was directed at us kids, herself, or all of us. :)
    Also FYI, the first thing I noticed before reading the post was that the print title ‘How to Become a Better Writer and Get Readers Loving You’ is different than the title that shows up in the tab of my browser – ‘The benefits of reading aloud’.

  11. I cheat and have a transcriptionist-copyed go over my professional work for free. Gotta love family;) Blogging, I pretty much hang loose and worry more about getting the content out there in an easily readable form.

    When reading out loud to myself I tend to try and speak at the same speed I am reading, which is very fast. This results in my brain and mouth getting tangled up and sounding nowhere near natural. I end up just putting my work down and getting it saved, then doing a revision or two a couple days later when I can look over it with fresh eyes.
    .-= Paul Novak´s last blog ..ComLuv Contest Entry Is Live! It’s Alive!!! =-.

  12. Lynn Viehl/S. L. Viehl writes everything, including novels, using Dragon Naturally Speaking.

    I don’t read my entire novel out loud because I’m impatient and that takes forever. But scenes that aren’t flowing? Yep. I’ll do anything and everything to fix a problem area!

  13. Wow, I was just thinking about using text to speech software for copywriting jus the other day. All of the old gurus used to tout reading out loud, with sales letters, but I never though about recording it.

    Reading out loud is the best way to dump your speedbumps that could get in the way of a sale.

    I’m so checking out that Natural Readers program. I was looking for a way to get audio from e-books without having to hire a professional voice. Coolio.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire
    .-= Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire´s last blog ..Don’t Be Like Lady Gaga at a Yankees Game- Do This Instead… =-.

  14. @Nabeel – It’s a technique that many people don’t know about, and it’s worth trying – and sticking to it at first, because it feels awkward. You’ll notice a big change in your writing quality!

    @Annemieke – Oh, good to know you tried that software! I know that other text-to-speech have better quality, and a huge selection of voices (from Bugs Bunny to Darth Vadar), but in the end, it’s just to hear the words, so a mechanical voice is often just fine.

    @Peter – You don’t have to like it, but you do have to do it. (Because I said so!) I don’t like it either, but I’ve noticed the more I do it, the less it bothers me and the more it’s becoming natural habit. (In fact, I think you’ve possibly heard me muttering sentences aloud once or twice!)

    @Heather – I’d venture a guess (and it is just a guess) that when you read aloud, you’re focusing more on the actual reading than the listening, because your brain already thinks, “This is fine. I’ve accomplished this already. Move on to something more fun, shall we?”

    @Thorey – I have to say that considering your first language isn’t English, and considering that it took me a long time to realize that fact, reading aloud has brought you some extreme skills. Awesome!

    @Melinda – I thought of you when I wrote this post. :) (And I’m still working on the audio. Bits and pieces; getting there!)

    @Ed – Yeah, I think this is one of the writer tricks that we never try until we’re almost forced to, and then we realize just how valuable it is. I’m loving it, personally. (Nothing like a happy client, eh?)

    @Mary – Many products are created because one person had a particular need that no one else was filling demand for. So the person tucked in and solved his own problem – and then found a whole bunch of other people outside his target market that were interested. Text-to-speech and speech-to-text are two great potential examples.

    @Elaine – Bah, what do school teachers know? (Okay, they know a lot, but still…) I was told I’d never be anything but a dreamer in life – good thing I didn’t listen, the same way you didn’t listen when they told you to stay away from writing. I’m very glad you didn’t!

    @Mark – Yup, there are two titles for this post. One for the search engines and one for real people. Know why? Because most people won’t read a post on reading aloud – I had to find a sneaky trick to get them paying attention, because what they can learn is valuable!!

    And yes. Hell. In a handbasket. ‘Tis a good saying worth keeping :)

    @Paul – CHEATER! Cheater, cheater, CHEATE-… Well, actually, that’s a fine idea, eh? But I’d say that what you suffered was just a case of those awkward first moments. If you practice consistently for a week, your brain will stop tangling itself up and you’ll be just fine. Plus you’ll improve and you won’t need that transcriptionist. Even if she/he’s free – then you can put her/him to work making you margaritas. Much better idea.

    @Lynn – Yup, there are a few people who write novels in this manner. I admire that kind of perseverance!

    @Joshua – Not only do you dump the speed bumps, but you tack on a springboard to more sales! (Side note: for ebooks to audio, try freeconferencecall.com )

  15. That’s such a spot on tip because think about it, your inner monologue is way different than how you often speak.

    Yeah, there’s some uh’s, um’s and durrrrr’s but you’re definitely not as proper as you think. I know I can get into that mode, writing words that I wouldn’t use with my friends.

    Why? Who knows, maybe there’s two voices going on (are we going crazy?)

    Take the time. Read your work. Reword it as you’d sound. Success.
    .-= Murray Lunn´s last blog ..Becoming The Linchpin (And A Badass Too) =-.

  16. Enjoyed reading this! Good rhythm, good flow–I can definitely hear your voice lol (at least as my sub-vocalization is interpreting it!). And yes, I definitely read my stuff out loud. Always have because, as you say, that’s where you catch the bloopers and things that don’t work and so on. Then again, have always been into reading out loud, especially poetry and that sort of thing. Helped me stay awake while reading 18th c. novels in college lol

    Only thing is, sometimes I’m trying to say something in writing that I’d probably never say out loud–or at least haven’t ever–and I get stuck on it. Might be something I’d use other-than-standard grammar for in speech, but I wouldn’t want to have that in writing…so that’s a spot I have to spend more time on.
    .-= Leah McClellan´s last blog ..Cops, robbers, and traffic tickets =-.

  17. It’s funny: I often read aloud the passages of writers I admire (mostly fiction) to try and hear—and understand—how they structure complex pieces that still work. But I never read my own stuff aloud, excepting scripts for voiceover work I’ve written.

    But it does put me in mind of the fact that much of what we write, even for business purposes, is a story of sorts, and stories carry emotional weight when they’re read aloud. And reading aloud also lets you hear the scaffolding of the writing, the pauses and rhythms, that you often can’t “hear” in the reading.

  18. Read aloud is a must for me. I often write late atnight, alone and even though the ideas are flowing, my typing skills diminish. I read my posts aloud for proof-reading, to see if what I think is so brilliant, makes any sense at all.
    .-= Clara Mathews´s last blog ..Lingerie & Chick Flicks: A Match Made in Heaven =-.

  19. Good reminder of a classic Freshman Comp trick. It’s important to remember, though, that good written English does not use nearly as many contractions and pronouns as spoken English does, for the sake of clarity.

  20. I couldn’t agree more! I actually started doing this without even being told. I find that I catch way more typos and grammatical mistakes or editing-leftovers this way. When I only read it “in my head”, I have a tendency to unconsciously insert and “hear” what I intended to say and not what’s actually on the page. Saying it out loud forces me to slow down and catch most of those.

    Great advice that everyone should follow! :)

    I also like the advice about using voice-to-text software. I find I write vastly better than I speak, and mostly it’s due to confidence and lack of experience. I imagine this would be very helpful to me. Thanks!
    .-= Jeannie @ Take Childbirth Back´s last blog ..Weekly Roundup 6.21.2010 =-.

  21. I was about to skip reading the entire post when you write: Don’t Write. But that made me a cat and my curiosity won. It’s very interesting. Yes, I sometimes read my pieces aloud just to check if the writing sounds right. Sometimes, you can catch awkward errors in grammar, punctuations, and more. I think when we read, it’s like talking in our minds ( this happens to me when I read anything ). Thanks for sharing dictation software and I’ll give them a try. I’m more of a writer than a talker. Maybe this can help me become more social in the real world.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Top 10 Online Project Management Tools =-.

  22. @ Murray

    You´re not going crazy :) The difference between our everyday speech and our inside-the-head voice, is that when we use the inside-head one we are reading or in the process of writing organized text. Every time you jot down a sentence, your brain automatically pulls out (some of) the rules of proper structure. Written word has significantly less hesitation and emotional aspects, while everyday speech is full of it.

    The main difference is that the inner voice is reading text that has been planned beforehand, while the everyday voice is doing all the planning as we pour out the words. We start to speak, and then organize and reorganize over and over.

    Err… mmmh… ehh… and all kinds of sounds we make and don´t even have words for… those are evidence of re-organizing (and a lot of other stuff too) :) We re-organize when we write as well, but cover it up. Leave out the evidence and end up with a smooth(-er) text full of significance because every word is there for a reason.

    @ James. Reading out loud is actually a very good exercise for those who want to improve their everyday speech :) Yeah… Good post. Did I mention that already? ;)
    .-= Þórey Ómars´s last blog ..Some People =-.

  23. @Murray – There are more voices in your head than you’d probably care to count – nothing to do with being crazy, just a normal, plain-old human being. :)

    @Leah – Oh, very cool that you hear the voice. Success! Regarding the point of “saying something in writing that I’d probably never say out loud” and getting stuck, reading aloud can eliminate that and create a lot of clarity in the message for sure.

    @Tom – You’d probably be surprised at how many storytelling techniques go into a great piece of business writing. In fact, one of the strategies for improvement in business writing I often suggest is to spend time writing fiction. Gets results fast!

    @Clara – Ah, there’s a good trick. Write when you’re hot, and read aloud when the surge has past. Good way to maximize the day! (Also, I often wonder at whether what I think is brilliance ever makes sense. You’re not alone, lol)

    @Mike – I have to disagree, though I’m highly aware that we probably have subjective definitions of what makes writing “good”. I definitely and frequently use contractions in my writing, and I eliminate stiff language that doesn’t contain them, to create writing that’s easy to read and easy to “hear” in one’s mind.

    @Jeannie – Our mind is really sneaky. When we read in our head, it glosses over lots of stuff and fill in the blanks. A great example of this is eliminating vowels in a sentence:

    Yr mnd s rlly snky nd flls n th blnks s tht y cn rd ths thgh thr r n vwls

    Actively try to read that sentence. You can even try to read it aloud. There may be words that you’re not sure of, but there’s a good chance that you actually have a pretty great gist of what that sentences says, because we unconsciously insert the right letters to make sense of it.

    @Issa – HA! See? A great hook keeps you reading. And I’m glad you did, because I really think the psychology in this technique (and of course its benefits) are pretty great.

    @Thorey – Mmkay, the fact that my brain organizes as I speak makes me seriously sit back and think, “Huh. That’s amazing. And we take that for granted!”
    .-= James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s last blog ..How to Become a Better Writer and Get Readers Loving You =-.

  24. James, I can’t wait for the Copyblogger guest post Sean Platt and I co-wrote to go live. We show another reason why you should read your words aloud. Sorry, can’t tell you what it is.(James the Assassin may be able to sway me, though) ;)

    Nice write and I agree wholeheartedly.

  25. As a radio journalist I can’t agree more. All writing for radio has to be read aloud by definition. Writing for radio means your message has to be very clear and absorbed easily as you can’t go back and read it again. Next tme you read your work aloud to a loved one, ask them if they can tell you what it was about!

  26. I’ve never seen this advice (though it makes perfect sense to me as an artist who works in a professional capacity and is always looking for new ways to catch errors). But, when I’ve been really excited about a blog post, a poem or a snippit of story I’ve always caught myself reading it aloud. Usually multiple times. And I’ve caught errors that way, though that wasn’t the original reason for reading it.

    My ego has served me quite well, it seems.

  27. I always read my writing aloud to pick up inconsistencies. I find there is a huge difference between reading on the screen, printing it out and reading it and reading it out aloud. If you can find someone who has the time to read it out to you, even better but Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a great program and good alternative.

  28. As a voice actor and writer, I’ve become accustomed to reading out loud. Only by doing that can I truly capture my ‘voice’ in my written word.
    .-= David´s last blog ..The voice actors behind the Transformers… =-.

  29. Amen to this (including the ‘Wall of Dorkness’ you go through when you hear yourself recorded).

    Switching to voice recognition (Dragon) software definitely changed the way I write – the feedback I’ve had suggests that it was for the better, closer to my normal speaking voice. I’m a pretty fast typist but it made me realise how unnatural it is to use a keyboard, or even a pen. (Although I’ll concede that ‘Men with Microphones’ doesn’t trip off the tongue quite as lightly as ‘Men with Pens’. ;-) )

  30. @Shane – Oh, a good hit man can bide his time… patience is the key ;)

    @Lucy – Radio! Now that’s a good area that proves text has to be vocally clear. These guys (and gals) aren’t just thinking up ads off the top of their head, after all!

    @David1 – I’m really getting into it lately. Amazing how trippy words sound when they’re spoken aloud, though they read SO well in text.

    @David2 – You gave me the sudden impulsive urge to apply as an Audible reader ;)

    @Mark – I actually have you to thank for all this. You’d written about Dragon a long time ago, and it’s always been rattling around in the back of my head, with several falst starts and stops. Finally got it all to stick and make it a regular habit.

    (You still “write” long posts, though ;) )

    (Men with Microphones… Richard Branson would approve.)

  31. “You still “write” long posts, though” – You should stop by my poetry blog, 200 words is an epic over there. ;-) http://www.markmcguinness.com/

  32. I personally don’t normally read back what I write but have started doing it recently. I will sometimes write an article and then schedule it for the next day it’s suppose to go live and then read it the day before that and make any changes necessary. That also helps me.

  33. Great advice James.
    I’ll try NaturalReader first so I don’t have to face that double-hit of reality shock when I discover I’m a dork AND an idiot.

    By the way, you were right – I never heard the term sub-vocalization used before.

  34. Steven Long says:

    Great post. I never thought about reading aloud. I will definitely give it a try.

  35. Brillant post. I started to do this recently and once I got over the “I feel a dick” syndrome it does actually work. I was thinking of using Dragon Naturally speaking but have heard so many negative views that I have held off buying it. I might give it a go and see how I get on.
    Thanks for a great article!

  36. I am a web designer in El Paso. I actually realized that recently. I am 53 and always had a hard time converting my thoughts into sentences. I recently downloaded a version e-speaking and quickly realized that if you speak the words it is much easier to translate it to paper. And since that when using e-speaking software you had to articulate your words carefully it really helped a lot when putting them on paper.

  37. This is super duper advice for another reason too. It forces you to get organised and allow time for the reading out loud process. Yes, I know, we should be leaving the words percolate for 24 hours but sometimes, well, you know ;) I’m going to start this with the very next post I write.

    Reading this reminded me of a technique I tried a couple of months ago. Someone suggested my words weren’t really coming out sounding like me, so late one night, I told my iPhone about the exciting stuff that was in my head. Recorded it, typed it up and voilà!

    It really helped to set my voice free.

  38. Haneef N. Nelson says:

    Considering I’ll be launching my blog within a week, this was a FANTASTIC post to read. Thanks for the info James.

  39. Your post just reinforced what I thought to be correct all along. For me I just have to read my posts aloud or I would definitely miss not only making corrections but some valuable points that I was trying to get across. Sometimes my fingers don’t move as fast as my brain and without reading aloud I just might not make my message clear. Thanks to my dear hubby, he gets to help me out with each post. I read it to him and catch the problems before I publish. So glad you reminded me of the value that this article was intended for.

  40. Food for thought indeed…

  41. Excellent advice about reading aloud. As a film/TV narrator and with many audio books recorded I can soon spot flaws in the writing. At present I am in Shanghai guiding some young Chinese translators in the art of good English style. I am constantly urging them to read their scripts aloud, or at least sub-vocalise them. The Chinese language permits many adjectives and even repetitions, but I point out that this just won’t do for English which, in general, favors pared down sentences. Marquez and other notable authors have claimed that writing is like carpentry, and that is also wise counsel. Reading aloud for 30 minutes each morning puts me in a good space for any voice-overs I need to do that day, but I recommend it for anyone.

  42. I am at the tail end of writing a book and I tend to read it out loud all the time. Yet the people who are helping me edit the book keep telling me I can’t write like I speak out loud. We have this on going argument about it. Very confused on the issue. But what I am going to do in the Book is to ask my readers to read the book out loud as often as possible. Thank You for your insight on this matter.
    J.R. Hutchinson

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  2. […] Reading aloud is a valuable exercise to improve your writing. Your words become crystal clear, and t… […]

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  6. […] Reading aloud is one of the best editing techniques. You’ll not only hear the errors, you’ll also hear whether the writing weaves a pleasing melody, or if it’s the Macarena sung in Esperanto. […]

  7. […] like you talk. In fact, read your work aloud and see if that’s actually how you’d speak to someone sitting right there in front of […]

  8. […] clumsy or confusing sentences. Rewrite any sentence that don’t quite work. You might want to try reading your post out loud – this can help highlight awkward […]

  9. […] like you talk. In fact, read your work aloud and see if that’s actually how you’d speak to someone sitting right there in front of you. […]

  10. […] Reading a piece aloud helps you to better hear the flow of the words and the sentences, and it can help you to capture a desirable tone and voice in your writing. A post by expert copywriter James Chartrand discusses the many benefits of reading your work aloud. […]

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