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Yesterday, we talked about Why You Should Be Writing and the many benefits of writing.
Today, I want to talk about getting better at writing on purpose. Yes, it’s true that if you write a lot you will improve, but that’s not the most purposeful way to get better. It’s the slow way to improve.
Getting better isn’t automatic. If you’re not consciously aware of the bad habits you have, time and repetition is only going to cement those bad habits.
Audit Your Writing Through Speech
I like to take a cyclical approach to improving my writing. This method audits your writing and helps you smooth out any awkward phrasing and find your true voice. Doing this will make not only make your speaking better, but also your writing voice:
- Write like you talk.
- Read what you wrote.
- Record your speech.
- Listen to your voice.
- Transcribe your words.
- Re-write your message.
This cyclical approach forces you to notice what phrases feel awkward to say out loud. If it’s awkward to speak, chances are it’s also awkward to read.
If you never actually read what you’re writing out loud, you won’t notice the discrepancies in your writing style.
The goal is to align your speaking voice and your writing voice so that both are very natural.
The Hybrid Voice
After you’ve done this a few times—where you read your transcript and record yourself—one method I like to use is memorizing the script and delivering it in chunks. Write it out in memorizable paragraphs and then deliver each from memory after looking at it for a moment.
You’ll find that your delivery from memory is a bit different from your delivery while reading word-for-word. Pay attention to the phrasing you use when speaking more naturally. All while doing this, you are recording. When you go to transcribe your recording, make sure to include every word you spoke and make note of it.
Your delivery while speaking won’t immediately be exactly what you’d want to write, but it will be a lot closer. Over time, you will begin to fuse your more articulate writing voice with your natural speaking voice. What results is a wholly engaging hybrid voice.
Most people never develop this. They don’t audit themselves or purposefully improve their writing and speaking simultaneously. When you develop a hybrid voice, two wonderful things happen:
- People can read your words and actually hear your voice.
- You can read your own writing word-for-word and your speech sounds completely natural.
You Don’t Improve by Accident
The mistake I don’t want you to make is thinking that you will improve automatically. You might get incrementally better, but you need deliberate practice.
You need to be auditing yourself—look for filler words and pet phrases.
If you’re writing, or podcasting, or making videos, you need to go back through and watch. You need to listen to your recordings. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s the only way to get better. Otherwise, all you’re doing is cementing bad habits.
Supercharge Your Writing
While we’re on the topic of improving your writing, I want to help you grow your business through the power of writing.
You know you should be writing, you’ve heard about how important content marketing is, but you’re not really sure where to start. You’re not sure what to write about, or how to get started, or what the most important thing is to focus on right now.
Supercharge Your Writing is a course I made that helps you write with purpose: