Writing can make people feel crushing pressure to convey groundbreaking, witty ideas in a clever way, says copy editor and content creator Whitney Ryan. We tend to forget writing doesn’t always have to result in a masterpiece. Writing in a conversational, casual tone can be more effective. Ryan offers these tips to help you loosen up your writing style:
• Know your own voice. Record yourself speaking, and pay attention to the words you use, your phrasing and your tone. This can help you learn how to write more like you speak.
• Write for one person. Imagine that you’re having an intimate discussion with an individual. How would you talk to that person? What words would you use?
• Talk through writer’s block. If you’re having trouble finding the right words, try recording yourself talking through what you’re trying to say and explaining it to yourself. When you play it back, you can transcribe what you’ve said as a first draft.
• Don’t worry about the first draft. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to make the first draft amazing, try allowing it to be terrible. Set a time limit and get down as many words as possible. Don’t worry about the quality.
• Perfect your self-editing skills. Editing is where the important parts really come into play. Take your first draft and give it an amazing edit to really spruce it up. The best part about editing is that you can go back and edit as many times as you want.
— Adapted from “Write Like You Talk: 9 Quick ‘n’ Dirty Tips for Non-Robotic-Sounding Copy,” Whitney Ryan, The Huffington Post.