Live to Write, readtolivetowrite

It Sounded Better In My Head

Hello, creatives!

We’re over the hump now. Hope your week has been productive. Only two more days until the weekend. And only one more day until Stranger Things season 2. *throws fists into the air* I am so excited to go back to those characters.

Anywho, I am running off topic here. Today I would like to share a learning experience with you. It has benefited me, and I hope it inspires some of you to try it yourself.

Thanks for reading!

**

We are all guilty of horrible first drafts. It is what they are meant for. Editing is where the story isn’t just told, but begins to come to life.

We go in after the first draft to tweak story structure and sort out scenes. We search for character development and plot holes, add and subtract as necessary. Then, we move onto line edits. We search for grammar errors, passive and active voice. We smooth out our writing and make it presentable.

Maybe, at this point, you are done. You’ve done everything in your power to make the words come off the page and play out in the reader’s mind. Or, maybe you only think you are done.

Today was my local writer’s group monthly meeting, and we agreed to bring our work, ready to be read out loud. Geez! I was totally freaking out. I have no problem sending my friends my work to be critiqued, but reading my own writing aloud is something completely different.

I am further ahead in my book than the chapters my group is working through. This works for me. I don’t scramble at the last minute to ensure I have something to share at each meeting. I can iron out my work to present a perfectly pressed chapter for my group.

But this time, I read it.

So, I edited. I rewrote. I ran the chapter through Grammarly, as I usually do. All seemed well. Until, I practiced reading it aloud to my husband, and oh goodness, did it need some more work. Everything was going well at first. Soon, I started to stumble over words, phrases that didn’t fit. The story did not flow, and it was not at all interesting, even to me, and I wrote it! It sounded better in my head, that is for sure.

Ugh! How could this be? How did I not spot these errors during my first three rounds of edits?

I am not one to read my work out loud while writing. I try, but every time I stop to correct something, I continue reading in my head, and forget that the whole point was to do a read through out loud. It is a bitter battle, but one I now realize I cannot avoid.

I was so pleased with how the evening went, and I was equally thrilled to know my writer friends enjoyed the story. It truly made the difference to hear the story, rather than just in my head.

If you do not read your work out loud, do it. If you feel awkward, do it anyways. Find a friend, a family member, your pet. Because your story is worth doing everything you can to make it better.

I am very thankful to my group for suggesting this exercise, and for pushing me out of my comfort zone. I have learned a good lesson, one I intend to continue to develop.

Do you read your work aloud? Do you read it to yourself? Are you like I was and felt awkward and failed miserably every time you tried? I would love to know. Leave me a comment.

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6 thoughts on “It Sounded Better In My Head”

  1. Thanks for a great post, and I’m glad you’re in a supportive writing group – I bet that helps loads!
    As I am editing too now this advice is really useful and I can relate. Sometimes it truly does sound better in your head. I do tend to read out loud when I can, to get a sense of how it flows. It’s great advice, so hopefully your other readers will try it if they don’t already ❤

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  2. I took a class called “Writing the Novel” in college and reading our work out loud was something our professor insisted on. Sometimes he’d read it, but usually we read our own stuff. It’s astounding the clarity it can bring! Ever since, I always try to read my stuff out loud (at least to myself if not to someone close to me) before I post or share it. This was good reminder for me as I’m in the midst of editing and could surely use some of this in my work.

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    1. I’ve always been told reading your work out loud is important. And I always tried, but it never stuck.

      I realize now, it is wholly important. It strengthens your writing in ways you won’t realize unless you do it.

      It is a discipline I plan to implement into everything I write.

      Good luck editing, and happy writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At first, I also used to read out loud, correct something and then start reading in my head again, but I’ve been getting a lot better at it lately and my work is so much better for it! 😊 Like the others said, hopefully this will make your other readers use this tecnique if they don’t already!

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