My mission impossible…

How’s your reading?

A silly question perhaps, given that you’re reading this. Therefore, I presume your reading is fine or at least, good enough to read my stuff.

By reading, what I mean is, how is your reading out loud?

Because it turns out that mine is not great. It might even be hopeless and not up to scratch which means I have over promised and my Patreon site is likely to be a non-starter.

Patreon was introduced to me last week by a friend and it appealed immediately. A subscription site for content creators – and as a blogger, apparently I qualify.

This is great news and I am mustard keen and not just because of this Corona shutdown. This is something I should have done years ago. Why hasn’t anyone told me about Patreon before now?

With great timing, Harry phones – checking in on his old-man to see how he is coping with the lockdown and having nothing to do; only now I am energised. I am man with hope. Excitedly, I explain my new venture and how it could be a breakthrough for my writing. I explain it’s a site called Patreon…

But Harry stops me. He already knows all about Patreon. Apparently he has friends already on it and doing very well.

Immediately, that question again. Then why didn’t you tell me about it?

But never too late, right and I am keen to make up for lost time.

I’m in. Where do I sign?

My friend is more measured (less deluded) than me. Most people are. She explains that the secret to success with Patreon is to provide great content!

No problem, I reply full of verve.

People seem to enjoy my blogs and I can write an infinite number. Have done for years and for nix.

Patreon works by providing extra content for a small subscription but the cunning trick is being able to attract a large audience.

‘What content could I provide?’ My friend asks.

‘Blogs.’ I answer too quickly.

‘Mmm.’ She rolls her eyes. ‘And what else? Something as well as blogs. Something you don’t already offer.’


‘For instance, could you read chapters from your books?’

What a stupid question.

Can I read excerpts from my own books? Books that I have written! Of course I can. I speak out loud for a living or at least I used to.

‘Can I read out loud? Yes I can.’


Only it turns out that it is.

It is a problem.

It’s a big problem which becomes apparent as I spend an entire afternoon recording the foreword, prologue and first chapter of Eclipsed.

I thought it would be easy.

But it isn’t. It’s blinking difficult.

It isn’t very long. Only 16 pages – so a twenty minute read perhaps, and yet my recording stretches to almost 75 minutes!

That’s almost an hour of errors to weed out. Bad news for me but worse news for Paddy because in Harry’s absence, he’s the editor.

Harry left home at the earliest possible opportunity and probably to avoid jobs just like this.

The out-takes will be interesting and possibly more entertaining than the book. Writing Eclipsed, I avoided expletives and yet my recording became increasingly colourful. It would be categorised an R or 18 – so Paddy could probably down tools on Health & Safety grounds.

I hope there is something worth posting. Something good enough to listen to on a dog walk because I’m on the hook; having promised such a thing and people already signed up.

Paddy, over to you. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save this new venture of mine.

Not that Paddy has a choice, like Tom Cruise does in the movies. It’s more of an order, which sits badly with him and especially since he is still basking in the glory of finding our lost keys.

A good job he doesn’t read my blog, or he would know how much he has saved me and he could easily negotiate himself a hefty fee for editing.

Anyway, I have set a deadline for the end of this week – to post this recording and immediately we have an impasse. Suddenly, Paddy is busy and has things to do. Like what?

On a dog walk this morning, we are arguing over anything and everything – and finally I snap.

Final Cut Pro is the software that is being used. And really, how difficult can it be? I am a capable man. Outside reading out loud – there is not much that I can’t do.

‘Okay.’ I begin. ‘I’ll do it myself. I will sit down this afternoon and I will edit the bloody thing myself.’

Nikki and Sam hear this but they say nothing. Perhaps they are impressed.

Paddy has yet to respond but we can all sense that something is coming.

He scoffs and then adds…

‘Dad, there is no way you can do it, you can’t even turn the telly on.’


And we all burst out laughing.


The timeframe remains – my reading will be posted to Patreon by this weekend – or your money back.



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53 thoughts on “My mission impossible…

  1. Vicky says:

    Reading out loud is difficult! I’m training to teach primary and until you have to read out loud, no matter how simple the words are, the second you see 30 pairs of eyes looking up at you anticipating the next word to be read out loud it’s near impossible to not stumble, especially when the words rhyme and you trip up and their faces fall in disappointment because they now can’t say that last rhyming word out loud with you… I will definitely have to improve by the time I qualify!

  2. Julia King says:

    Hello! I am a narrator and editor for audiobooks through Audible. I’d be more than happy to help you edit! I am experienced in Adobe Audition, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro. I previously worked as an assistant editor at Turner Studios in Atlanta, GA.

    • Dom says:

      That is very kind of you Julia but do be careful making such kind offers – in case you are taken up. I couldn’t possibly do that to you – (even if I were able to send the bloody thing through the ether)

  3. Mandi-Sue M says:

    Having signed up for tier 3, I’m happy to accept the out takes in lieu of the actual first chapter this week! I could do with a giggle!

  4. Avery Wickersham says:

    I have been reading your blogs and your books for months now, as well as listening to your stand-up on YouTube, and personally, I really enjoy your Paetron content thus far. Your blog about Zoom and the naan bread was so good–I was laughing out loud as my mom left me in the car to pick up lunch. I think that it’s a great opportunity to share some more content with us that you may not share otherwise on your normal blog. I’m excited to see what you come up with!

      • Kim says:

        I wish you the best for your editing. For media studies at school we had to create a short film and use that editing software, I loathed it. (Don’t tell the teacher but I was secretly editing it at home on iMovie so that it would look good).
        I believe in you though, but seriously if all else fails, iMovie is a great alternative 🙂

  5. Daisy says:

    I cannot read out loud. I can try, but I fail. I skip words and it just becomes a jumble. Don’t worry, I’m fairly certain a lot of people struggle with it. Either that or we’re both a bit thick.

  6. Sydnee Coleman says:

    Lovely blog, Mr. Holland, I can understand the struggles of reading out loud, I have a small stutter, but I read to my 16 year old sister, to improve my reading. And I’m slow with it, you can forgot to do things, when you read out loud rather then in your head. Like miss a word and you still know what’s going on and it’s ok, in your head. Out loud and you can forgot important stuff that you never thought of before while reading, like breathing.

    • Dom says:

      that’s good advice, thank you. And well done on defeating your stammer – doing any kind of public speaking is a good thing to conquer.

  7. Soph Garvey says:

    Good luck to paddy if he chooses to accept it !
    My parents are fairly good with editing because they both work for the bbc but it’s the grandparents that always need the tech support!
    I’d always get random phone calls out of nowhere going ‘oh how do you take a picture again?’ or ‘can you help me upload a picture to Insta-what?’
    Good luck with the reading!

  8. Jo says:

    This just brought me a vivid memory, I have this problem too.
    When I was in school – I make it sound like it was a long time ago when it has been only a year – I remember we were reading hamlet and the teacher would ask us to read out loud in turns to test our english (im a spanish native speaker) and I would count how many people were before me, and how many pages they would read. Then I would practice my paragraph like 10 times while shaking. I got so nervous cause I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I would mumble the words, cause just practicing in my head wasn’t enough, what if I couldn’t pronounce a word?
    At the end I usually got them right, unless I had wrongly calculated the amount of pages before me, then I would just get a stutter out of a sudden.
    I guess my advice is just to practice a lot before you start recording.
    Best of luck! I hope you do great in Patreon.

  9. Sophie says:

    I’ll be looking extra forward to listening to this – knowing what hard work it was. I hope you include some of the out-takes

  10. Claire C says:

    Looking forward to the blooper reel then!! – that has to be shared surely. Get Paddy on the case! I had never heard of Patreon either, but it’s a great idea.

  11. Regina says:

    A couple of years ago, I started the ambitious project of recording myself reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe out loud for my godson. My goal was to get through all the Chronicles of Narnia. I made it through about half of LWW before the lap top I was using died. Permanently. I was not daunted. I bought I new laptop and started again. To be honest, I can’t remember what happened after that but I know I only made it about three chapters in the second time. But, I have extra down time, he’s not at school, I now have a goddaughter……You may have inspired me to try again! But it is stupidly hard. Even though I speak in front of children for a living (as a teacher) reading out loud in front of a camera is for whatever reason is terrifying.

    • Peter says:

      One of your better ones Dom. Funnily I’ve just read an article about authors reading their own books as audiobooks. Apparently not as easy as it sounds as you have discovered. Diane Keaton and Ronan Farrow get a thumbs down while Michelle Obama is very good.
      But one of the best recommendations is for Eric Idle’s sortabiography. There’s hope yet

  12. Carla Vanzelli says:

    It’s so good to read your blogs, it’s so real life. My brother is the same age as Paddy, so I always remember him, and wonder if he would do the same thing that my brother is doing hahaha. Anyway, very good content!! Lots of love!

  13. Jennie says:

    I love how you turn the most ordinary, and even mundane, situations into comedy. Keep the laughs coming. Certainly needed over here.

  14. Pamela says:

    As a first hear teacher, I read out loud all day long since my students are beginner readers. With remote learning now our way of teaching, my first grade team has decided we will read books to our students. We created our own YouTube channel just for it! It’s private and no comments allowed! (Haha!) Now it’s my turn and I have to record myself reading a book and making it interesting enough to engage them!! It’s a lot harder when you don’t have an audience! I am wondering how many times it will take me to read it without mistakes! I look forward to listening to your read from Eclipsed! I have enjoyed Patreon! On a sad note, the city I live in is a hot spot for Covid-19. A meat packing plant has over 400 cases. That’s just new cases in 2 days. Making the National news not in a good way! Plant is now shut down. Many parents of my students who work there are now sick. Hard to learn when you have a parent sick. Good health to the Holland family and stay safe!!

  15. Lorraine says:

    Loved the blog this evening Dom, it made me laugh. I can relate to reading aloud, I have a captive audience in a school setting with Juniors infants so they can’t escape try not to worry and enjoy the content, I certainly did when I read Eclipsed- so I read it twice. Relax and ask Nikki nicely to do it for you – maybe!

  16. Meagan says:

    Not having the technical chops to edit your reading may not be your only set back. I interned at a radio station when I was in high school and after struggling to complete needless PSA’s over the span of the first few weeks I quickly learned that reading out loud was not the only downfall I had. I HATED hearing my voice played back . The only time I could manage was after I had caught a bad cold that “seemed” to destroy my voice but made it much more pleasing to my ears.

  17. Beth says:

    I never understood why people thought me to be “tech savvy”- half the time I just wing-it and it works out. Unfortunately my schooling has found me to be unable to do that anymore (with video editing, online learning etc) which has left me with wishful thinking… it can’t be that hard, right?
    Best of luck with Patreon (unfortunately I can’t subscribe)

  18. Mia says:

    Dom, i love your blogs, they bring me lots of joy and always make me smile. i was sitting outside reading you ‘ Eclipsed ‘ and i discovered that my reading aloud is not very great either, i kept stumbling on common words and re-reading lines over and over. i have money that i have been saving for quite a while now and i have decided to become a patron, my heart jumps when i see a new blog because they are always so interesting and i love them. I want to become a patron to get more from you but also to help you because everyone could use and extra bit of money and you have really helped me in hard times so i want to return the favor.

  19. Sol says:

    Working in Final Cut Pro is actually quite fun, don’t give up yet. Maybe you’ll be a tech whiz. by the time the quarantine is lifted 😀

  20. Victoria says:

    I can’t read out loud either. I tried to read this out loud to my friend on FaceTime as I read your blog. But kudos to Paddy. I’m 15, and I can barely edit a photo, much less a video.

  21. Julie says:

    Reading out loud is just as much of an art as any other!
    And it is extremely difficult to get it right, having a good editor definitely helps, you’ve got that covered, thankfully.
    I started taking classes for it this year thinking I was doing decent before my teacher slammed me with the feedback. Oh well. Just keep doing it, you’ll improve!

    Also, I would argue that, since you are capable of maintaining a blog and updating regularly, you also have the potential to edit you own stuff if push comes to shove. 😉

    Thanks for the (almost) daily entertainment, it’s quite fun to hear your thoughts on subjects.

    Anyways, greetings from the European continent!
    Stay safe

  22. Mary says:

    Reading your blog is truly a pleasure! Let’s say that I am training a lot with English because I would like to be able to speak it “fast” and understand it perfectly. With the quarantine is pleasant to read your blogs, first of all because they help me to read and learn English and then because they are also beautiful! I can’t wait for the others sincerely! Compliments!

  23. Kim says:

    I wish you the best for your editing. For media studies at school we had to create a short film and use that editing software, I loathed it. (Don’t tell the teacher but I was secretly editing it at home on iMovie so that it would look good).
    I believe in you though, but seriously if all else fails, iMovie is a great alternative

    • Dom says:

      I have plans to do them all – but you’re gonna need to be patient! Eclipsed will be first though – read by me – and a lil bit by Tom. He’s v expensive these days!

  24. Nicole says:

    Reading out loud? Just for my son, who’s now 9 years old (his birthday was on May 31) and still loves it. His favorite Story since he was little is Green Eggs and Ham which is funny considering the fact that we are from Germany and he can only speak a few words in English. But he can recite the whole Story.
    P.S. Eclipsed arrived last Friday. And I’m already on my second round. Really enjoying your way of writing and barely stop smiling the whole time. Thank you for that! By the way, my son’s a Nokia too.

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