My Favorite Editing Tip: Read It Aloud

I read everything I publish out loud. Last week I read several chapters of the book aloud and made a bunch of tiny changes in the process.

Here's what reading your work out loud can help you do:

Catch errors. You can scan something a hundred times and still miss an error. But when you read out loud, you can't help but stumble over typos and missing words.

Improve your flow. Reading out loud helps you write in a way that reflects your speech patterns and generally makes you sound more human.

Soften your sentences. As you read aloud, pretend you're talking to a real person and ask yourself "Would I say this to someone in real life?" Sometimes our writing makes us sound stodgier or colder than we'd like.

Next time you publish something, take the time to read it out loud. It's also helpful to hear someone else read your work out loud. You can ask a friend or coworker to read it to you, or even use a text-to-speech tool. Give it a try! This little trick can really transform your writing.