TL;DR – Read your copy out loud before publishing.
With my marketing background I know how important the concept of storytelling is. It’s an amazing thing to see when people or brands do it well.
I’m relatively new to writing. In fact, an important part of this #ship30for30 programme alongside a combination of practice, accountability, improvement and kick-starting things, was to work on my stories.
I know I’ve got a long way to go (more on that tomorrow) but I want to tell a short tale about the greatest tool to improve your writing.
When I signed up for 30for30 I spent hours researching creative writing. Concepts, styles, ideas, nothing was off-limits and I made a huge resource file.
I then began on 15 Feb and have been chugging along like an old Fiat. With 18 articles now under my belt I’m working towards becoming an Aston Martin.
Two days ago everything changed!
Everyday I have sent the first draft to my wife to get some initial feedback. On Tuesday she had her hands full with the baby and asked me to read it to her instead.
It was painful. It sounded like my 3 year old had written it.
I couldn’t believe how many times I had to stop to edit while reading it to her. Even though I had read it in my head and already ‘edited’ it, it was only while reading it out loud did I notice how poorly it flowed. It was completely nonsensical in places.
I thought it was a one off but repeated the exercise yesterday to double check. Same result though, it wasn’t a one off!
I will ensure that anything I write in the future that is meant for multiple sets of eyes is read out loud several times first. I’m stunned I’ve only just discovered this.
I still have many improvements to make with my writing but this realisation is a total game changer and a giant leap in the right direction!