Edit yourself out loud

Very often I'm in presentations where the agency AE reads an excerpt from my copy aloud for the client. I learned -- the hard way -- that reading aloud is an excellent way to catch awkward structures, double meanings, unintended repetitions of a single word within one paragraph, or just plain stupid-sounding constructions. These days, I read my own advertising and promotional copy aloud in private before submitting it for presentation. Even in the case of very brief headlines, I find it's helpful to hear it, especially because good headlines are repeated aloud in the field as well as in a meeting with a buncha suits.

It's not my personal discovery, of course. Fiction writers sometimes read a "daily" of their writing onto tape or microrecorder, then listen to it in another setting outside of the desk/computer/coffee shop/work venue. Interesting insights occur regarding gaps in logic or character when replayed this way. It's like applying another of the senses to your work, that is, hearing instead of just seeing/reading the words -- and somehow there is magic in that. In fact, what it reminds me of is my intense poetry-writing days (which now have dwindled to the occasional lyrical blitz sometimes resulting in a worthy or tasty bit o' verse): I always read my poems aloud before letting anyone see them. So if it works for the every-nuance-counts world of poetry, it works for the real-estate-by-the-centimeter world of advertising splendidly.

Did I read this entry aloud before submitting it? Um, no. Sometimes you just have to let fly.