I often tell people that writing a story is the easy part. The hard part is editing. That’s not to say that writing is easy. There are a million ways to get distracted, side-tracked, and bogged down. But when you write, you’re creating something. There are not a lot of rules. Editing though, brings in the rules — a lot of them. It also involves a lot of reshaping.
One of my favorite editing tools that I use right before I submit a story is the Speak Selected Text feature in Microsoft Word.
I have a blind spot when it comes to editing my own writing. There are many errors I catch on my own, and I have an amazing writing group, and beta reading group that help me catch a whole bunch of other errors that I miss. However, my mind will correct errors as I’m reading, so I read what is supposed to be on the page, not necessarily what is actually there.
The beauty of the Speak Selected Text feature is that the computerized voice will only read what is on the page.
If you would like to try out this feature, it is quite simple to add to your Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Word. Here it is, broken down into four steps.
- Find your Quick Access Toolbar at the top left of your Microsoft Word window.
- Select the drop down menu, and select More Commands.
- Under “Choose commands from:” click on the drop down menu and select All Commands.
- Finally, scroll down and select the Speak icon, click the Add button, and then click OK.
To use the Speak Selected Text, all you need to do is select a few paragraphs that you would like to have read aloud, and then click the Speak icon. You can click on the icon again to stop the action.