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Our Best Editing Tip

Several years ago, I worked as a feature reporter for a small newspaper in my city. One of the best parts of this job was working with my editor Tom. 


I remember him telling me that Pepper, his wife who was also a writer, refused to seriously date him until he had read the entire Harry Potter series. 


So, obviously, I knew from the start he was someone I could trust. 


Something else important he told me is that he could always tell the best writers in the newsroom because their lips would be moving.


“The best writers read their work aloud,” he said. “It’s how you hear if something works or not. It’s how you find mistakes.”


All these years later, that is a writing truth from Tom that I teach all of my students. 


Before they submit their writing, they are required to read it aloud to themselves. And their lips MUST move. 


This matters because when we read it in our heads, our brain likes to sneak in words and punctuation that isn’t actually there. 


I’ve discovered reading aloud to be a brilliant writing hack that works wonders for writers of all ages.      


This month, we’ve invited our box writers to take something to the “finish line” by January 31st. One of the simplest editing tools to prep a piece of writing to share with the world is to read it aloud. 


To take this writing hack to the “next level,” simply ask your writer to: look for ways to make it better. 


Chances are they will find something. And in the process, they will have grown into a little bit better writer. 


That’s how it’s done. Just a little bit at a time. 


So now, I’m going to read this  blog over again–aloud and while moving my lips. 


I’m also going to ask myself: “How can I make it better?” 


Once I’m satisfied, I will press send.



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