As a writer, it is important for us to find new ways to hone our craft and streamline how we do things. There is a plethora of products out there designed to help writers like myself become more efficient in our writing process. My friend Ben, another author who wrote the Veldorian Saga uses a MacBook to write on. I use a Lenovo laptop (Asus previously) and I was always envious about his ability to have his word processing program read back to him. I wished, for the longest time that MS Word had that option. Unknown to me it did.
About a month and a half ago I was trolling around in my writers group on Facebook (Shout out to my Indie Author Group peeps) and someone was talking about this very same subject with another writing program called Scriver. In the comments, someone talked about how MS Word actually did have the read back function. I was thrilled and immediately looked up a how to video on YouTube. I followed the directions and poof it worked.
I was at the tail end of writing All the Roads (The Oregon Series: Book 1) so I did not use it much for that. However with several blog posts and now with my current WIP (The Oregon Series: Book 2) I am using it a lot. Let me tell you outside of Grammarly this read back function is the second best thing I have come across recently to help me as a writer and I only wish I had it the past few years at the dreaded GVSU.
It’s normal for writers, or anyone who writes anything of length to miss things, type out something with bad phrasing or us wrong punctuation. Whether we are reading that piece aloud or in our heads, we inevitably miss things or don’t realize something sounds off (as a reader would read it). This neat little feature kind of takes that away.
I use it to read back the last few pages I wrote the night before to help me get my place back if I don’t make notes. I use it to see how it sounds when read aloud so whatever I write has the effect I want and sounds correct without ME making mistakes while reading it. And many many times I have caught silly errors, punctuation mistakes or realized another word might work better than what I had already.
No, it is not perfect. If you have any spelling or grammatical errors left unfixed you will notice because the “voice” pronounces them funny but that’s the point, right? The voice is a little robotic but no different really from the Kindle read function except with a male voice. I wish there was a way to augment that damn voice though! So I hope someone from Microsoft reads this and fixes that. I would love for it to be read in an English or Scottish voice just for kicks and the sake of pleasantness.
So yea, that is my little “writers” hint for today that I thought worth sharing for the other writers or students who were not aware of this function. Here is a link to the YouTube video that I used. I have the new version of MS Office, but it still worked as shown in the video. I wish I could make a video of it reading my own text by I am not that cool.
Alright, I hope that helps someone as much as its helped me.