Writing Workflow: Have Your Mac Talk to You to Improve Editing

As I’ve mentioned several times before, writing is central to what I do. My research interest in the use of games-based learning and screen-based simulation has me writing constantly, whether grant applications, manuscripts, reports, concept papers, or blog posts.

An annoying fact about my writing: If I stick to visually proof-reading, I inevitably miss something. That’s why having the computer read back to me has become an essential step in my writing.

Having a Mac do this is quite simple—just highlight the text you’d like to hear, and Control-Click the text. Then under the Speech submenu select “Start Speaking.” To stop, Control-Click and under the Speech submenu select “Stop Speaking.”

If you’re like me, you’ll catch omitted words, duplicate words, syntactical errors, and the like. The only downside is if you stop the read-back, you can’t restart from the same spot—you’ll have to start from the beginning.

Because of this, I decided to develop and share two Keyboard Maestro scripts. The first, via a single mouse click, will select the current paragraph (regardless of where your cursor is) and read it back to you. The second, selects the whole document and reads it back. I use the default voice (Alex), but you can change the voice to whatever you’d like from within Keyboard Maestro.

Let me know what you think!

P.S. When you download script to your computer from Dropbox, you’ll have to remove the .txt from the file name.