Can you relate to this scenario…
You’re sitting in front of your computer, staring at an empty screen. The deadline given to you to submit the article is fast approaching, and you’re still fighting to start putting words down when you’re supposed to already be at the editing stage.
As you sit there, struggling to get started, a strange feeling of inferiority creeps in – before your own eyes, you see yourself transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.
The good thing?
- You’re not alone.
I used to dislike writing a lot. In fact, the thought of sitting down for hours and writing something that I didn’t even know if anyone would read was so demotivating.
Whenever I needed to write anything, I would procrastinate, thinking that avoiding the task would make it go away. Finally, the procrastination eventually led to lots of rushed writing during the 11th hour to meet my deadlines.
This usually resulted in substandard work.
However, my primary problem wasn’t about writing; it was about fear. I feared making mistakes, I feared that what I wrote would sound stupid to the reader, and most of all, I feared that I would not be worthy enough to be called a writer.
My Fear Was Causing Me Harm
So there I was, a guy with many years of experience who has won blogging awards and has been praised by major publications, afraid of sounding stupid.
It sounds preposterous, but my fear of producing mediocre content made writing a depressing experience for me.
I even tried compensating for my fears – I’d use big, irrelevant words trying to “prove” I understood what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a fake jerk.
But then one day, I came across a particular piece of advice that changed everything for me. It was the best writing advice I’ve ever come across, and the best writing advice I can give to you right now:
- Write the way you speak.
What an emancipating idea!
That sounds so easy, right?
That single piece of advice helped me eliminate my fear of writing. No more using complex, unnecessary words to impress the reader. No more fear of being inauthentic. And most importantly, I didn’t feel the need to procrastinate anymore.
I could just be myself, relax, and write exactly what was on my mind.
Now, let me make something clear: Writing the way you speak does not mean you should write content that sucks.
It’s meant solely to help get rid of the mental barriers of procrastination and fear that prevent you from being a more productive and engaging writer.
Let me show you how to use the “write the way you speak methodology” to crush your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pretentious idiot…
1. Assume You’re Chatting With A Good Friend
Great writing is like an interaction between the writer and the reader. So whenever you’re writing anything, imagine yourself explaining the topic to a friend who’s sitting next to you. Think of the easiest way you would explain this topic to them.
During that conversation:
- How would you introduce that subject?
- What kinds of words would you use to make the topic clearer?
- What instances and real life examples would you give to make them understand your topic?
- How would you make your story more relatable?
- What questions might they ask?
- How would you wrap up that topic so they feel satisfied with the discussion?
Writing this way will enable you to write great copy that better engages your audience, is more interesting, more informative, and exists in a conversational tone.
Simply close your eyes and imagine yourself taking with your friend. As you do this, jot down the interaction. That’s all there is to it.
2. Relax And Be Yourself
By writing the way you speak, you will also naturally inject a little personality into your writing.
After all, you’re writing in your own voice using straightforward and easy to understand English, and in a tone that makes you sound more like a human than a textbook.
Now, mix that with a few well-placed personal and relevant stories, and you have the makings of an irresistible piece of copy.
Just remember to make it natural. Don’t say anything that isn’t true, relevant, or unnecessary to the conversation.
Stick to the topic at hand and let the words come naturally.
3. Use The Same Language You Use In Your Daily Life
If you write the way you speak, you’ll be more inspired to use regular, everyday words that you would usually use in general discussion.
This prevents you from sounding like a show off using obtuse and generally confusing language that makes your readers roll their eyes in disappointment.
Keep your writing very clear and simple without using artificially magnified language.
A good rule of thumb: If your average reader would reach for a dictionary to understand a word, then you need to change that word.
Here’s the thing, your readers don’t give a shit about your level in the English language (as long as it’s grammatically coherent).
You should not try to show off because all that will happen is you will embarrass yourself.
4. Throw Away The Rule Book And Just Write
If all the rules about writing styles, passive/active voice, punctuation, and proper grammar are contributing to your insecurities about writing, throw away the “rule book” for a while, and just write.
Some people try to be very meticulous about the whole writing process, and they end up very carefully selecting each word as they craft a piece of content. This results in a very unnatural tone and an overall piece that comes across as too boring and too technical.
Just forget about everything you know about “how to write well”. Focus more on writing down the major points of your idea in your first draft, and don’t worry about any other thing right now.
When you’re done doing that, you can revisit what you wrote and edit the heck out of it.
The editing stage is where you need to focus on the nuts and bolts of the piece. Notice any errors? Is there anything that could be changed to add more clarity? I guarantee there are some things that need editing, and here is where you should do that. Make sure everything is clear, crisp, and free of errors.
Once you’ve made those corrections, abandon the article and look at it again the next day with fresh eyes. You will probably see some things that need to be re-edited. Now is the time to go and do that.
5. Read It Out Aloud
One of the best editing strategies is reading your writing out loud.
When you’re doing this, every awkward sentence and piece of bad grammar will become apparent. When you “write the way you speak”, your words should sound just as natural coming out as they did going in.
As you read your writings out loud, pay close attention to those places that seem to trip you up and leave you a bit confused — some extra attention for those spots is required.
Here’s the rule: If a particular sentence or paragraph doesn’t sound well on your ear, you need to rewrite it until it flows properly.
Write The Way You Speak And Overcome Writing Insecurities
For you to become an excellent and proficient writer, you must first conquer your fear of screwing up or sounding stupid. Just learn to write the way you speak, and you’ll be able to dish out your first draft effortlessly.
Once you get used to that, you’ll find that you’re actually a great writer and you’ll be able to get more writing done quickly without feeling like a fraud.
This same writing process has worked for me for many years, and I’m convinced it’ll equally work for you if you practice it.
Just write the way you speak and the piece becomes a conversation instead of a lecture.
So instead of having a handful of students listening to a professor talk about something boring, you now have a handful of friends who feel like they’re involved in the conversation.
This is how we create rapport and build trust with an audience.
And when those two things come, many more good things come, too!
What do you think about this writing technique? Have you tried it before? Have you noticed any difference in engagement? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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