Why ‘Write Like You Talk’ is the Worst Writing Advice You’ll Ever Get

For the longest time, I was scared to say that I thought writing like you talk was bad advice.  I was the new, unknown kid on the block. What did I know?

Then Men With Pens published Why You Should Never Write Like You Talk and I thought: Yes, exactly!

Secure in the knowledge that my opinion had been validated by an A-list blog, I promptly forgot all about it. It wasn’t until I read Mark Harai’s post on writing like you talk that I started thinking about it again.

To summarize, Mark says his writing became better and started yielding results when he started writing like he talked.

So how is his post different than all the other posts giving the same (bad) advice of writing like you talk?

It’s different because he knows that writing like you talk is incomplete advice. He knows that the advice will only work if you know how to talk. Luckily for Mark, he’s a good orator.

Write like you talk, but only if you know how to talk

The advice worked for Mark because he knows how to talk.

Let’s stop and think for a moment. How many of us can claim that we’re good speakers?

And if you think you are, what makes you so sure?

I thought I was fairly articulate till I recorded my first audio interview and couldn’t believe how idiotic I sounded! In fact, I still do. You can listen to the painful experience here.

Thankfully, I’ve learned the art of editing audio recordings and rerecording my parts of the conversation if I still sound like a bumbling idiot after editing.

A quick way to find out how you really sound while talking is to record a Skype conversation. Next time you talk to someone over Skype, record the conversation and listen to yourself.

Are you really as good a talker as you thought?

Write like you want to talk

As I commented on Mark’s post, I’m a better writer than speaker so for me it’s always made sense to write like I want to talk.

I want to talk like an articulate, composed individual who isn’t uncomfortable speaking in front of an audience. Not like the nervous scatterbrain I really sound like.

Verbal communication is not structured. It’s a free flow of thoughts with lots of repetition.

Written communication on the other hand is structured, focused and has a clear message.

So instead of writing like you talk, try writing like you want to talk.

I’m curious to know if the ‘write like you talk’ advice worked for you. Or if like me, you discovered that it needed some serious amendments?

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