I freely admit to talking to myself. As someone once said, “I can’t think of a better person to talk to.” But that’s neither here nor there. The subject of this post is really about reading, not talking, to oneself.
Copywriters use a variety of different methods to polish their writing, as Suzannah Freeman notes in “9 Editing Tips that Make Your Writing Sparkle.” In this great short piece, she reinforces the opinions of her colleague Jennifer Blanchard of Procrastinating Writers. Both believe that all writers should read their work aloud or have someone else read it to them.
Reading what you’ve written—aloud, to yourself—is a wonderful way to test how a piece comes across to your audience. Even if you don’t write for a living, as I do, reading your writing is a great way to improve your skills. And we all want to be better writers, don’t we?
When you read something out loud, you can make unsettling discoveries, such as wordy, convoluted sentences, missing words, and peculiar punctuation. You’ll probably also find typos that make you look careless. (Hey, they’re inevitable. You just want to fix them before publishing.) In the process of reading your work, you’ll hone your skills, and that’s a good thing.
A final note: this post is dedicated to the memory to my sister-in-law, Betty Ambler Monroe. She was a patient audience, an astute critic, and gone far too soon.