An easy way to hear your writing aloud

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a Don Massenzio blog post on getting your computer to read your writing aloud….

I’ve long advocated always reading your written work aloud. This not only helps prevent typos (reading aloud is slower than reading silently so you catch more stuff) but it also helps you check the rhythm of your writing.

Back when I worked in daily newspapering I always read aloud the work of all my reporters. I’m sure they saw me as the crazy lady muttering to herself in the corner. But I knew my effort always paid off. I could edit more mindfully and more effectively when I heard the work aloud.

Now, writer Don Massenzio has gone me one better. He advocates using your computer to read your writing aloud to you. Here’s how he puts it:

When we read, we tend to skip over things that might be incorrect or clumsy, especially if we’ve written it. When you hear it read aloud, however, these things jump out at you like a pimple on the end of your book’s nose.

Read his entire post if you’d also like instructions for how to get your PC to read your writing from MS Word to you. I’m on a Mac and couldn’t make his instructions work for me. But a quick google search led me to a selection of videos that gave me explicit directions for my computer and my version of Word.

You even get to choose your own voice. I particularly enjoyed “Moira” who had a beautiful Irish accent. I’m guessing that the guy who played “Bruce” might look a bit like the fellow in the photo at the top of this post.

If I have the time, I might even get Moira to read my entire next book aloud to me before I allow the printers to hit the “run presses” button.