There are skills that we as writers can develop to help our writing get to its best form before we ever hand it off to someone else to help bring it to its shiny state. Reading your words out loud is the biggest tip I can give to help you edit your work.

As a former teacher, it was always difficult to get someone to read out his or her own writing out loud. For some reason, giving a physical voice to what we’ve written gives us the shivers. The reason: reading out loud makes our writing live. If you read your own words out loud, there are a few benefits when it comes to editing your writing.

One, it makes you pay attention to each and every word. When we just read with our eyes, our brain will fill in gaps and correct mistakes that actually exist.

Two, it increases your chances of catching two of the biggest writing mistakes today – run-on sentences and sentence fragments. If you lose your place or attention when reading a sentence, you might have a run-on. And if your sentence isn’t complete, it won’t make sense when trying to read out loud.

Three, it will help you get a feel for the flow of your writing. When you hear the words being spoken, you might get a feel of how you flow from sentence to sentence and idea to idea. If you feel a break in that flow, it gives you an opportunity to fix it.

Last and like I said before, it brings your words to life. You’ve created them. Give them their first breath of life.

Reading out loud doesn’t mean you have to find an audience. You really should be your first audience. It also doesn’t mean it has to be loud. But it’s an invaluable tip I’ve given and used for years when evaluating and assisting others’ writing. Try it! You just might like it!