Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Speak the Speech, I Pray You....OUT LOUD!

Writing is such a solitary occupation, and typically a quiet one. But I talk out loud to myself all the time. It's becoming pervasive...branching out into all areas of my life, and not just when I'm sitting at my desk working on a piece. I have been known to carry on full-length conversations with myself in public places like Target.

Here I am…in the toilet tissue aisle…talking. To no one…!

As I examine various rolls of toilet paper the conversation goes something like this:

"Hmmm…should I get the Northern bathroom tissue, or is the Angel Soft a better deal?"

No…that doesn’t really sound right. Actually, in reality the conversation probably goes something like this:

"Why have I been standing in front of the toilet paper for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get the most for my money? Just pick one already, will you Deb?"

Yeah, that sounds more like me. I'm sure many people in Target have noticed my toilet paper diatribe and steered away from the odd woman who is obviously a bit tweaked in the head.

Ah well...occupational hazard.

As a playwright, it's essential that I read my work out loud. I need to hear the rhythm of the dialogue. I need to hear if the writing sounds natural; if it truly sounds like a conversation and not just words on a page. But I also think it’s useful to read any piece of writing out loud. It doesn’t have to be a play or a speech. Short stories, articles, advertising copy, even blog posts! I think it works to the writer’s benefit to hear the words spoken out loud and outside of their head.

If nothing else, it helps give me a sharper eye when proofreading. I’m more apt to spot an error if I hear it…sometimes my eye is lazy and doesn’t see a mistake, but I’ll hear if a sentence sounds weird, or a comma needs to be placed. You get the idea, right?

So whatever you happen to be working on…a press release, a journal entry, a poem, a blog, a memoir….sing out Louise! Let the words of your writing reverberate back to you…out loud…it’s kinda fun. I just wouldn’t recommend doing it in the middle of Target.


MikeB said...

Funny! And it makes sense: I like your idea of reading out loud to hear the rhythm, check the sentences, and so on. And even for press releases. By the way, which toilet paper did you buy? I myself am always interested in bargains.

YogaSavy said...

I would have my fill of laughter just being inside your brain for the day especially when you are talking to yourself about toilet paper!

Anonymous said...

Deb: Really like this post. Writing a lonely business...self-dialogue in Target. All I identify with. 'Tis life and we try not to let on how much we enjoy it (Balzac, I think).

(Jack Matthews, Sage to Meadow Blog)

awitchtrying said...

Thank you! Now when I find myself talking to myself in the store, I will simply think, "This is okay because I'm a writer." Yay for permission! I agree about reading things out loud. I sometimes read a poem to myself and am struck by something that was better than I thought or something that totally isn't working when I thought it was. When others read our work, it will come in a different voice. It helps us a lot to hear it in our spoken voice, in addition to our inner voice.