Whether you’re writing a book or an article, polishing your writing is a vital part of the process. Strong writing skills allow you to produce quality work consistently and communicate your message clearly.
The best way to improve your writing is to practice and apply new techniques. Here are five simple tips to help you polish your writing.
1. Read it aloud
Reading your writing aloud is not only a great way to catch errors, but it also helps you polish your work. By allowing you to hear your own words out loud, you can spot flaws in your logic, overuse of language, and unnecessary word choices.
If you’re a parent or teacher, reading aloud is an excellent tool for developing your child’s literacy skills. It can improve comprehension and encourage a love of books for life. It also makes for a fun activity for students to share with each other, which can help build a class community and encourage communication between teachers and students.
A good read-aloud should be engaging, but you need to make sure that students are truly listening to the text. To do this, pause at points that elicit interest, ask comprehension questions, and get students involved by asking their opinions on characters or plotlines.
As a result, reading your writing aloud can be an effective way to enhance students’ comprehension of your texts, whether they are reading independently or during guided or shared reading activities. Listening to a reading can also encourage inferences, which can help your students develop their own understanding of the text and make connections to their own lives.
While hearing a sentence out loud can help you catch grammatical mistakes, it’s often better to read your paper again before making any changes to ensure that the tone is correct. A shaky voice or awkward tone can make for a less-than-professional impression.
You may also discover that your sentences are too long, clumsy, or repetitive. These problems can be a sign that you’re attempting to make your sentences too complicated and that you need to simplify them.
If you are an adult, listening to a story read aloud can help you connect with the author on a deeper level. It can help you understand the story’s meaning more clearly and empathize with the character.
Adding this step to your editing process will improve your writing and your readership. It will allow you to catch grammatical and punctuation errors, make corrections, and smooth out your pacing and rhythm.
2. Read it out loud again
One of the best ways to polish your writing is to actually read it aloud. This can be done by yourself or with the help of an audio recorder or a friend.
Reading your work out loud is a great way to spot the grammatical errors and catch mistakes that you may have overlooked in your rush to get your paper finished. You can also use this time to re-read it and make notes on what worked and what didn’t.
Using the right words can mean the difference between a grade C and a B+ in your exam. You’ll also find that re-reading your work out loud helps you to remember the words you’ve used so you can use them again when you’re re-writing it.
The most important part of this process is to give your writing the polish it deserves. There are many products on the market that do a pretty good job of buffing and shining your work.
A word of caution: polishing your writing is a messy job that requires the appropriate equipment and some patience. Don’t forget to wipe it down with a soft cloth afterward to prevent streaks and scratches. For the best results, choose a dry day and a well-ventilated area.
4. Read it out loud again
Reading your writing out loud is a fantastic way to find glaring errors that you’ll likely overlook in the process of proofreading and editing. When you read your work aloud, it’s easier to notice tiny problems with syntax and phrasing that Word or Grammarly might not pick up.
This is especially true if you’ve already written a draft and have been reviewing it for a while. If you’ve been reading your work to yourself or in small groups, it might not be apparent when a mistake suddenly jumps out at you — especially if the error is in the first few words of a sentence.
Also, by reading your draft out loud, you’ll have a much better sense of what tone your writing will sound to new readers. For instance, if you’re writing to a conservative audience and have a very formal, professional tone, you’ll probably realize that you need to cut that part of the piece down a bit.
You’ll also have a better sense of the rhythm of your writing. This is especially helpful for writers who often struggle with pacing.
When you read your writing out loud, you’ll be able to identify places where you need to pause or where your sentences need to be split up. This will help you create a better overall flow to your writing and make it more readable for your readers.
Lastly, reading your writing out loud can give you a clearer idea of how long it is. For example, if you read it and your mouth is parched, or you’re winded after just a few words, that’s a sign that it’s too long for your intended audience. Use that physical indication to create shorter sentences or revise for clarity where it felt twisted by unnecessary alliteration or flowery language.