Read your work aloud. As you can imagine, in a house full of noise — crazy kids running up and down stairs, chasing one another — reading my work aloud helps me focus and block out all the hubbub. But even when my children are in school, I find myself reading aloud. Why? During quiet time, reading aloud helps me smooth out ripples in the narrative, such as awkwardly phrased sentences, and also to find silly mistakes, including tense changes or incorrect pronoun/antecedent agreement, that I may not find otherwise. (Keep in mind that I’m not shouting as I go, but talking softly or whispering.) And my reading aloud doesn’t stop with my novel. I do it with essays, term papers, emails, letters, even texts. I actually do it all the time. Including right now.