From time to time, those who I know in real life happen to stumble across some of my writing.
Surprisingly the most common thing I hear isn’t that ‘your writing is rubbish’ – it’s actually ‘this sounds like you – you write exactly like you talk’.
I’m happy with that.
It makes my writing genuine, and for the reader it feels as if I’m talking directly to them.
Which is really important for holding someone’s attention.
Sadly, a lot of people don’t write as they’d talk. Even through private Whatsapp messages or emails.
Friends who I’ve known for years and seen in numerous stages of undress and drunkenness write to me as if they’re my solicitor.
And no, it’s not because they’re usually filing lawsuits against me…
It seems to me that a lot of us completely lose our voice and our character when we’re on the other end of a screen, fingers tapping over a keyboard. We feel as if nothing has changed since the 18th century – so our writing has to sound like we’re using a quill and parchment.
Which is sad, because all our voices are unique. The only thing that should ever change is our tone, depending on what the conversation is about and who we’re talking to.
For example, you’d talk differently to your best friend than you would the kindly old dear next door. I hope…
Next time you’re writing something – be it an email or a ‘which pub and what time?‘ text – write it exactly how you’d say it aloud.