Write like you talk only better

Aug 12, 2013 | Better Writing

You’ve probably heard the writing advice to “write like you talk.” It’s good advice. Just don’t take it literally.

The way we really talk is messy. We pause, start over, and let sentences trail off in the middle. We add all kinds of interesting sounds.

But each of us also has a unique voice and a unique character. If those don’t make it into your writing, you sound just like everybody else. That’s not a recipe for success.

The solution is to write like you talk only better. When you write conversationally, you write for the ear. Check your writing by reading it aloud.

Get rid of the messiness of talking. Aim for the tight reasoning and finely honed phrasing that you can only achieve through writing and revising. Oddly enough, reading your work aloud will help with that, too.

Writing Tip

Test your writing by asking the question I often ask clients about a story or phrase: “Is that they way you’d say it to a friend?”