Over the weekend, in an effort to test out the microphone on my laptop, I decided to read a piece of my writing out loud just to see how it sounded audibly. I had read for years that one of the best things you can do for your work is to read it out loud, but for one reason or another I had never followed this particular piece of advice, until this moment, and let me tell you it makes so much difference. Mostly the writing in question worked fine, but there were sentences, that, when read back and out loud, made me pause for a moment, trying to figure out what exactly it was I was getting at.
Something can read well, in your own head, but pulling that story into the real world by speaking it, and hearing yourself say the words, adds an entirely new dimension to how the words are understood and processed. This is important to ensure that your readers are getting the exact message you’re trying to send them. English can be, at times, a complex language, full of nuance that can often be affected simply by the placement of a comma or where you place emphasis within a given sentence. The meaning of a sentence and how it comes across to your reader can change dramatically with fairly little intention, so it’s imperative that you read through your work out loud to pick up subtle cues, that your brain might gloss over, but that others might not.