Awkward editing method (but it works): read out loud!

Talented Friends, Writing, Writing Thoughts


I love editing other people’s writing, and don’t much like editing my own. I learned a lot about the process of it when I did a creative writing module at uni. We’d have to read out something we’d written, and the rest of the class would critique it. It was pretty scary! But this one tip is one of the best methods I use for editing whatever I am working on…

Simply read the words out loud.

When you try that, the awkward sentences suddenly stick out, and because you are forced to read more slowly than usual, any typos, odd phrases or mistakes jump out at you too. Plus any sentences that are too long or convoluted become very obvious – as well as things that just don’t work.

I often found things I wanted to edit in the process of reading out my work to the class, before they even had a chance to rip it to shreds. That didn’t really happen, actually.

So there you are: whether you’re a pro or hardly write at all, reading the words aloud will help you to make your writing great!

Just maybe don’t do it at the top of your voice on the tube.

Blog read aloud. Revisions made: 4.


9 thoughts on “Awkward editing method (but it works): read out loud!

  1. I have the same problem. I don’t like to edit my own stuff.
    It is such a helpful post, because I plan to edit my reviews and doing what you suggest, it seems easier!

  2. I do this when writing dialogue, but two things occurred to me while reading your post:
    1. When your book is a best seller and you are immensely famous, someone will need to read it to create your audio book!!

    2. A further tip from experience: when reading aloud (or editing in a non aural manner), use a highlighter or the highlight tool in your word processor. This let’s you highlight the parts that need work, but maintain the flow of reading. If you don’t do this you will end up re-reading the same section multiple times without fully reading it in the same context as your audience.

    Great suggestions though. I will use this technique more now :)

    1. The highlighter is a great idea…though I hate the colours so tend to use a biro! And #1 is all the more reason to read it yourself first!! Good luck on that best seller!!

      1. My friend had just had a fantastic idea… If your writing on a computer (as we usually do here in the 21st century) you can get your PC to read text to you. I used to use a program called natural reader. The voices have got much better recently, but these programme’s will allow you to properly listen to your writing, and because they react to the grammar in a structured way, they will probably highlight errors and issues pretty obviously?? I have never tried using a reader program for proof reading, but it could work really well?

        Also, the program I had allowed you to process text to an audio file, so you could listen to a whole chapter as a slightly robotic audio book (that’s what I actually used it for!)
        Imaging listening to “someone else” reading your writing to you while your on the train!! :)

      2. Hmmm yeah kinda… But I think the actual doing it yourself is the thing that as you try to say a difficult sentence makes it stick out… If you try it let me know!

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