Writing Assignment: Read It Out Loud

by Randy Murray on February 17, 2012

You will never know if your writing really works until you hear it read out loud.

Some things look good on paper, or on the screen, but when read out loud they can be clumsy, awkward things. When you read your own writing, it needs to be, well, sayable, regardless of the style or approach that you are taking. If your writing cannot be spoken, then in some fundamental way it is broken.

Note: there are some forms of poetry that are strictly visual. Poets of this sort are excused from this assignment.

For me, my writing is a companion to spoken language. I strive for writing that could heard and understood as easily as it can be read. If something I’ve written causes me to pause and look hard at the page when I’m trying to read it out loud, I instantly know that something is wrong. Yes, I often write for customers who require very formal, technical, and even scientific language, but I still work hard to make it speakable.

And by making it speakable, you will come closer to making it understandable, clear, and complete.

For today’s assignment write a short piece of at least 200 words about the correct way to store an opened bottle of ketchup (refrigerated or not?). When you have edited it to your satisfaction, read the piece out loud, then rewrite as required.

Bonus points: have someone else read your piece to you. Do not stop or interrupt them.


Hint: this is also an excellent way to edit your own work.


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The Writing Assignment: Read It Out Loud by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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