Read Out Loud and Other Writing Tips

Robert Farrar Capon is an Episcopal priest and has authored more than 20 books. While I often don’t agree with his conclusions, he is better at putting words on a page than any other Christian author I’ve read since C.S. Lewis. I read The Foolishness of Preaching recently and Capon shares some of his tricks of the trade.

  • Read out loud. Read your own work out loud when you are in the editing process. It is easier to fool our eyes than our ears, and your writing will improve if you edit your work this way.
  • Always use concrete illustrations. Talk about football, not sports. Talk about real estate, not business. Talk about woodworking, not hobbies.
  • Take a break in the middle. Never stop writing at the end of a section, chapter, or paragraph. Stop yourself in the middle. When you come back, you will be able to pick up where you left off rather than stare at a blank page.
  • Write when others sleep. Whether you are a night person or a morning person, find a time when other people are sleeping to write. Phone calls, texts, and quick lunches won’t interrupt you this way.
  • Adjectives pull punches. More often than not, adverbs and adjectives “pull punches rather than deliver them.” Use sparingly.
Comment below if you have any other writing tips you would like to share.