If You Can Talk, You Can Write (And Blog)


What makes a writer enjoyable to read?  Well, yes, many things, but first and foremost is a voice you can hear in your head.  It’s unique.  It has personality.  It stays with you when you are not reading anymore.  We could talk about dialogue or pacing or sentence structure or any aspect of writing but that will probably be intimidating in a way that stops you from writing, rather than moves you to the page.

Blogging can be intimidating because it’s essentially writing and who doesn’t have memories from school about being forced to write things you didn’t want to write about?  We learned that writers are people like Hemingway and Faulkner and they are not us.

Instead of looking at a blank page (or screen) look at someone (in your mind) who you want to talk to about something that interests you and just talk.  What will come out will flow better than the stuff that comes from the “Oh my God, I’m going to have to write something”  frame of mind.  What will come out is a story, a conversational tone, an example-something with personality and feeling.

If you want to read bloggers who are clearly writing like they talk, read Penelope Trunk or Michael Martine, or Mitch Joel or Naomi Dunford or  . . . well, you tell me?  Who do you think writes like they  talk? They are probably your favorite people to read.  Please share in the comments.

7 Responses to If You Can Talk, You Can Write (And Blog)
  1. Tony Teegarden
    May 12, 2020 | 9:04 am

    Tim Brownson and David Risley definitely write like they talk. (I’ve talked to both and of course read their writing) And come to think of it I do enjoy their writing quite a bit.

    I remember when I made the shift to writing like I talk and even though I’m not a “technical” writer, I’ve had many readers tell me they feel me through my writing. (Even though I’m not sure it’s that good of writing)

    As of late I’ve found the desire to become a better writer, so thank you for the reminder of just writing to someone.

  2. Ilana
    May 12, 2020 | 1:21 pm

    Thanks for your comment Tony. I too have recently found the desire to become a better writer so the growth of digital definitely does not mean the end of good writing. We all need to work on our communication skills now that social media marketing depends so much the words that we use.

  3. Terah Murphy
    May 15, 2020 | 8:44 am

    For me right now it’s Jon Katz, Pioneer Woman, and The Worst Mother. I started blogging last fall. http://cowgirlred.blogspot.com/

    I took a tele-class from Peggie Arvidson. I am discovering my voice and a huge new creative venture that fills me up. Peggie forwarded this post to me. She has also stressed to me to write like I talk. What freedom! Thanks. Terah

  4. Brice Ashta
    May 25, 2020 | 12:09 pm

    My knowledge of her is more as a novelist/memoir…ist, but Jen Lancaster most certainly writes the way she speaks. I think her books are a lot more amusing for it, too.

    The problem with writing differently is that it almost always make you seem more uppity than you really are, which makes it harder for everyday people to relate to you.

    • Ilana
      May 25, 2020 | 5:50 pm

      Brice, It really says something about a writer when you can hear the natural tone and cadence of her voice.

      I don’t think people have to write differently, they just have to use their own authentic voice. If some people don’t relate that’s o.k. When you take a stand with your writing, not everyone will like you. But those who do, will connect with you deeply.

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