Read Your Writing Aloud To Improve Your Writing

 

Many classic and contemporary resources exist to help you write well. Reading these guides will make your writing better. What if you do not have the time or motivation to read these manifestos but still want to practical ways to improve your writing?

Reading your writing aloud is a simple, immediately applicable, tip to improve your writing advocated by many people that write a lot and well (e.g., CGP Grey; Mark Leary).

Problem

Great! You are ready to put this tip into practice and begin reading your writing aloud. There is only one problem, you work in an office with others who you might disturb (and might be disturbed) by reading aloud. Do not fret; there is a solution.

Technological solution

Your writing device can read your writing to you 1. If you write on Mac OS or iOS there are many ways you can have your text read to you (in headphones) by the operating system.

Mac OS

  • If you use Launchbar there is a built in “speak text” command that reads text you provide. Thus, you can copy what you want to have read to you, paste it into the Launchbar window, and hit Enter. Launchbar will then read your text to you from beginning to end. Subsequently hitting enter will stop the reading of your text. Once you are proficient with the keyboard shortcuts to start and stop the reading of text, having Mac OS read your text to you becomes something you can invoke in seconds.
  • If you are not a Launchbar user 2, you can accomplish this feat less eloquently using apple script.

iOS

Note: Do not forget to plug in your headphones


  1. This is of course assuming you do not compose your prose with a paper and pencil like a Neanderthal. Since you are reading this blog, I assume most of your writing occurs digitally.  
  2. If you do not currently use Launchbar, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Here is a jumping off point from Macsparky. Using the program will save you an immense amount of time controlling your computer without having to use your mouse. Seriously, try it. Other “launcher” apps like Butler and Alfred may do something similar but I do not use those apps and cannot confirm their functionality.  
  3. Workflow is a wonderful app. If you want to become a master at its many uses, I suggest watching Macsparkys Workflow Video Field Guide

 

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