If you want to write in your own voice, but find when you sit down to write, it comes out weird, like it was written by a big, stuffy, boring corporation, this blog post is for you.
Writing in your own engaging, authentic voice is tough. That’s why you find it hard. Because it is hard. For most of us, it doesn’t come naturally.
But we can learn. We can learn little things that guide us, one step at a time, and our writing will get incrementally better until it’s unrecognizable from the stuff you used to be so embarrassed of.
So here’s one step you can take today to make your writing sound more like you.
After you’ve written a blog post, read it back and change any words that you wouldn’t use when you speak.
We want to write well. All of us do. I don’t believe there’s anyone out there who doesn’t give a crap about something they’ve written that they know will be read by others. And because we want to write well, we try to use “proper” words, instead of the rubbish that naturally spews from our mouths.
Let me ask, does anyone like you? Offline, I mean. In the real world. Is there at least one person who likes you?
Well, they like you because of the rubbish that spews from your mouth! They like the things you say, your opinions and they way you say them (even if they don’t agree with them). It’s part of what makes you you.
So get rid of any words you wouldn’t naturally say. Here are two corkers that pop up in people's writing all the time:
This one really gets my goat, as Jay from Modern Family would say. I love that show. I wish his YouTube blog was a real thing.
Yes, utilize and use do have different meanings. Different nuances. One cannot be directly replaced with the other. But you know what? Most of the time when you write utilize, you actually mean use. So just use use. Please.
As in, “Presently I am experiencing frustration with the word presently.” Often you can cut the word out and it doesn’t effect the sentence at all.
Sometimes you need a word that will transition you into the statement. There are better choices than presently. Try at the moment, now, or right now.
This extra one probably is something you’d say in normal conversation, but I’m including it here because it’s another one that really gets my goat!
Is it? Really? Besides the fact that soooooooo many people claim their latest post is “totally epic,” the word doesn’t even mean what many people think.
Epic means telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or adventures. Or, it means very great or large and usually difficult or impressive. (So says Merriam-Webster’s trusty dictionary.)
Maybe the real definition doesn’t matter, since anyone born after 1885 knows what you mean when you say epic. But still, is it really epic?
What about you?
What words do you write, that you’d never say out loud? Let me know in the comments.