Stop and speak

read aloudI have been listening to a lot of audiobooks. Add these to the podcasts I subscribe to, and I have converted much of my leisure and professional “reading” to listening. In turn, I have come to appreciate a good narrator or speaker more than ever before.

What I have also become cognizant of is non-optimal writing. I have suggested for years to the authors I work with, to read all their work out loud. And yes, that includes scholarly journal articles and books. It can seem duplicative or even laborious, but it is very beneficial.

Reading your work aloud will surface many issues. Simple ones like missing or incorrect words are the low hanging fruit. However, lengthy sentences or tortured sentence construction will also become readily apparent.

As you work at developing this technique, you will be able to judge the cadence of the article. I know some writing addresses technical content and will not be a Robert Frost poem, but reader fatigue is a real issue. If you are having trouble with a section, please work on it.

When in doubt, simplicity in writing and idea presentation is essential to getting your message across. Does it unfold naturally or come in fits and starts? By reading your writing aloud at the highest level you will start to be able to judge the flow of the entire work.

No matter what you are writing for publication (or even important correspondence), take the time and read it aloud. You have spent the time doing the work and research. You wrote and edited the whole work. Go the extra mile and read it aloud. Your readers will appreciate it.


John BondJohn Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.”Contact him at jbond@riverwindsconsulting.com.