Write like you talk–only better

Last week I advised people who are struggling with all the writing they’re expected to do to write like they talk. To do this effectively, however, you need to spend a little time in advance thinking about what you’re going to say and more time later on revising. That’s the –only better– part of my advice.

By combining left-brained thinking with right-brained creativity, you can make the best use of your writing mind.

The advance thinking ensures that your critical first 25 words, which includes the title, succinctly summarize what you’re going to say, what’s in it for the reader and how you’re going to say it.

Ignore this and you run a high risk of readers hitting delete or close, as I explained in an earlier post, Three things to think about before you start writing.

As you write the first 25 words, you can make the transition between thinking and the more creative place I call the writing zone, where I lose track of time and distractions fade. No checking emails or tweeting or answering the phone, one of the huge advantages of working in a home office.

My office-bound colleagues tell me they sometimes hang “Do not disturb” signs on their doors or work from home when they need to focus like this. Mostly they’re envious.

In that happy space, I write mainly from memory, which reveals what’s most important. I’m not disrupted by checking spellings, quotes or other details, which I followup on during revisions. I simply let the writing flow like a conversation with my ideal reader.

My plan remains in the back of my mind as I write. The article evolves, but usually stays fairly close to the original track.

At the end, I return to the all-important title and first paragraph. Because I’m in the writing zone, I often jazz them up. And I check that I’ve accomplished my goals or gone full circle on a theme.

Then I do something different–pay bills, cook dinner, return phone calls and emails, whatever. Unless I’m on deadline, I don’t return to the piece for at least an hour, better still the next day.

Then I rewrite, once again engaging the left side of my brain. I’ve outlined what to do when you’re revising.

By taking the time before and after to think, my writing is so much better. And I’m free to have fun in the writing zone.

I realize that each person is unique and must find the magical left-right brain balance that works for them. The point is to remember is that it’s all about balancing both sides of your brain.

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2 Responses

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  2. […] you bloggers, I stress the only better part of my […]

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