Monday Motivation: A short disquisition on writing by ear

 In Monday Motivation, Richard Beynon's blog

Listen up:

You’re at your desk, right? Or your dining room table, or your kitchen table, or, in desperation, perched on a stool at the marble credenza in your bathroom, trying to write; plagued by doubts; unsure of your voice – in short, doing what all writers do for a considerable fraction of their writing lives: worrying.

Take a deep breath, make sure the door to the outside world is closed, return to your laptop or your Moleskine, and read the last page you’ve written.

Aloud.*  At normal reading speed, with the built-in pauses you might have indicated, and making due allowance for the varying pace of description, dialogue, internal monologue. Listen to the cadences of your lines of description. Listen to the rhythms you’ve created.

And listen, too, for the discordances. The too-abrupt transitions. The indistinguishable speech patterns of the various characters you’ve called on to speak. The banality of that too-long description.

Your ear, in short, is a better judge of writing than your eye. So give your ear a chance to hear what it is you’ve done, and suggest what you might do to tighten and improve your text.

Happy writing,


If you, like me, spend some of your writing time in coffee shops, then you’ll have to risk those at the next table casting doubtful looks at you as you mutter your way through that page. Don’t mind them, though: chances are, as non-writers, they wouldn’t understand even if you explained what you were up to.

Read Jo-Anne’s latest blog: ‘Don’t be predictable – but don’t come out of left field either

Upcoming courses:

Free Screenwriting Webinar: 14 October

30-Day Writing Bootcamp: Start anytime

Virtual Creative Writing Course: Starts 12 October

30-Day Writing Bootcamp: Start today

See all 2020 writing adventures

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt