Some writing instructors advise aspiring writers to read aloud what they’ve written. They say doing so will reveal awkward phrasing, faulty rhythm, poor word choice, and other sins.
It’s true. Sometimes.
Reading aloud is particularly apt when writing poetry, especially if that poetry is to be recited. But reading prose aloud isn’t always a good idea.
Having written a ton and a half of advertising copy over the course of some four decades, I learned long ago that writing words to be vocalized—as in radio or television commercials—is altogether different from writing words to be read—as in printed advertisements.
That’s because the brain is much more adept than the vocal cords.
Your mind can wrap itself around more complex sentence constructions, accept more assonance and consonance and alliteration without getting tongue-tied, easily switch rhythmic patterns to follow dialogue, fill in the blanks purposely created by ambiguity and other techniques to involve readers, understand sentence fragments, and on and on and on.
The written word and the spoken word are entirely different things. Different languages, almost. The trick, in both cases, is using words well. Go ahead and read your work aloud. But don’t believe for a minute that your mouth is a better arbiter of what’s right in writing than your brain.