Do you feel frustrated with how long it takes you to write a blog post or marketing email. Compared with speaking to someone, writing seems slow and painstaking.
Why can’t you just write how you talk? Isn’t that how we’re supposed to be writing? In a conversational, relaxed manner? So shouldn’t it be as easy as opening your mouth and letting the words fall out?
Writing Is Harder, Slower and More Effortful Than Talking - Here’s Why
What happens when you want to say something? Explain something? Describe something?
You open your mouth and speak - and the words just tumble out.
Can you do the same when you want to write something? Just start tapping away into the keyboard. As those same words come to mind, instead of letting them flow out of your mouth, can you channel them through your fingers and out onto the screen instead?
I can. That’s what’s happening for me right now - I am having a conversation with my keyboard just as if I were speaking with another person.
But it’s not that easy for everyone. I’ve been writing online for more than 7 years I’ve worked in some form of communications or marketing for more than 10. I’ve got this down.
So how am I able to do this?
#1 I can type very fast. This fluid brain to computer word transmission wouldn’t be possible if I typed slower because the words would get muddled up, ideas would get lost, concepts missed. So super fast typing is a must.
#2 I do not look up at the screen at all. Imagine how distracting it would be if you were having a conversation with a friend and as you were speaking you could see the words drifting towards their ears. I type looking at the keyboard not the screen. I don’t do corrections until the first draft is complete, and all my ideas have been written up. I’ll take a screenshot of this text before I correct it so you can see just how bad it is.
Look at all those red lines!
#3 I have nothing else going on. I have no other tabs open, I am not researching this subject at the same time as writing about it. The only way I can type like this is because this is a subject area I am knowledgeable on already.
So writing is more time- and energy-consuming than speaking because:
♦ Saying words out loud is faster than typing words
♦ When speaking you aren’t constantly distracted by your mistakes, going back over what you’ve said already and editing it.
♦ You only speak about topics you are already knowledgeable on. You do not research a topic and hold a conversation about it at the same time.
The ‘Write How You Speak’ Fallacy
When we’re told to ‘write how you speak’ it’s easy to assume that the method should be as simple as channeling words from your mind through the keyboard, rather than out of your mouth. And that this will result in rapid creation of conversational-sounding content.
But I’ve already shown that this is a near impossible trick for most folks.
What ‘write how you speak’ really means is ‘write content that reads aloud like a casual conversation’.
A common complaint I hear from my clients is that it’s taking them too long to write their online content. They imagine writing a blog post will be as effortless and rapid as having a chat around the subject matter. When it takes them an hour or two to pull together a top-quality post, they worry that they’re not ‘writing how they speak’.
But writing top-quality content is time-consuming and effortful. It just is. I’m 90 minutes into this post so far and I haven’t even had to do any research for it.
Happily, I have a few tips to help you increase your efficiency, without compromising the result.
6 Step Process To Speed Up Your Content Creation
#1 Do whatever research you need to do BEFORE you start writing.
You won’t be able to create any sort of momentum if you’re constantly flicking between tabs and books. Set aside 20 minutes to an hour research time, then take a break before you start to write.
#2 List the key points you want to make.
Your priority is to get the information and key points out of your brain as quickly as possible. Don’t worry yet about making sense, getting the order right, or how well it reads. Get it out of your brain and into a document, and make it pretty later. Do not edit at this stage.
#3 Arrange into the structure A - I - D - A.
Anything you are writing for your business has a marketing function - otherwise why are you writing it? So it needs to follow this tried and tested marketing structure:
Attention - A headline and opening intro that gets their attention and sucks them right in.
Interest - Make sure the bulk of the communication remains interesting and engaging. Use emotive words to hook the reader. Make it about them, not you.
Desire - What do you want the reader to do after they’ve read this content? Share it? Click on a link? Take action on what you’ve written about? Start building the desire for them to complete this action, and be clear about what’s in it for them.
Action - What do you want the reader to do next?
#4 Make the sections flow together.
Transform the text from a series of unconnected informative points into a single piece of content that flows and makes sense.
#5 Make the text conversational.
Use contractions (‘don’t’, ‘isn’t’, ‘can’t’) to make the text less formal. If you read the piece out loud does it sound like a conversation or an instruction manual written in England circa 1930 (stiff upper lip)? For more help on finding your own unique writing style read: Solopreneurs Find Your Writing Voice With These 5 Simple Tips
#6 Proofread and polish.
This is another time-consuming stage. I go through my posts/emails/copy at least 3 times. Each time I’ll notice new ways to improve the text, reduce unnecessary words, and eliminate errors. For more tips on this: Proofreading | 5 Steps To Flawless Copy
Join The Conversation
On Thursday 19th July I’ll be Live in the Write With Worditude Facebook group talking about why writing copy feels so much harder than simply speaking, and what you can do to help the words flow.
You’ll need to be a member of the group to see the live. Join the conversation here.