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Owning It: Power of Reading Aloud

The JourneyIt was my turn around the table. I hesitated and announced, “I have 12 pages. It seems like a lot for one time.” Sitting to my right, Kathleen asked, “Do you want to own it?” Of course I replied, “Yes!” And with that, we were off into the world of my imagination, with a story spun from nuggets of life experience.

I found myself editing single words here and there as I read aloud and the other members of my writing group followed along with their copies. Closing in on the final words, I was delighted to hear their sighs of compassion for the heroine. M. said, “I’m right there with her!” I loved that. My reading/listeners were totally onboard.

While working alone at my keyboard, with only the cat for feedback, I will occasionally ‘try something out’ by reading it aloud. Some say that this is an effective test for determining if something is well-written — or not. It may give me a moderate measure of perspective, but it’s nothing like having an audience or reading a substantial body of material in a single sitting. By putting the words out there, I did indeed take possession of the story in a way that is separate and different from the composition process.

I don’t pretend to understand the ironic magic of what transpired today, so I’ll just chalk it up to the creative process and leave it at that.

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  • Kathleen January 19, 2007, 9:02 am


    So proud that I can be a part of your growth process with this story. I know how hard it can be to really ‘own’ our work–and reading aloud is never as easy as it sounds. Many people have literally cried (including myself) at my workshops when called upon to read aloud, so take heart that what you are doing is a brave act and one that will make you stronger and more determined to let this story be told.


  • Rob Hopcott January 19, 2007, 4:10 am


    I agree with your point about reading writing aloud.

    Reading aloud my articles and stories is my best way of finding if the sentences have the right rhythm and scan well.

    Reading aloud has now become important in another way too because I have just started adding a podcast audio file for each newly written article or story. The technology is surprisingly easy and it gives extra chances the article or story will achieve a wider airing.