Write as You Speak, Speak as You Read, Then Write Again

The best way to be ‘you’ in writing

Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash

It’s advice that floats everywhere around us.

Be yourself and see yourself change. Just write whatever you want, and watch the world watch you. Just write.

The advice that we think made the likes of Stephen King, David Baldacci, John Green who they are today.

It’s what makes any writer from an average one to a merely good one. It’s the universal truth, that if you write to , you can be good.

But what no one sees is the next step. do they write ‘being themselves’?

In 2012, author John Green, giving an interview for 60 Minutes, gave us a story that changed his writing career.

The Problem of ‘You’

The one advice John’s teacher gave him was to ‘write as he spoke’. In the search for being someone else, he forgot about his voice.

We have all been there, in the beginning, trying to copy the greats in the field.

“At the start, it’s completely fine to imitate other great work,” I keep hearing.

But the common problem is how much to be like that person?

Put Words as if Your Own

It seems silly, ‘well, of course, I’m going to put my own words!’

If you have ever seen any one of many Stephen King stage speeches or hour-long talks, then you know what I’m talking about.

If you read any of his work, and then go and check out his stage talks, you will find one commonality right off the bat.

He speaks the way he writes. Or to be more precise, he writes exactly the way he speaks.

He writes what he thinks and speaks. No filter, all-out truth. That’s what makes him ‘him.’

But how to know what to speak?

Speak as You Read

The mind is everything, What you think you become

— Buddha

As timeless as the quote maybe, I say, ‘we are what we consume.’

Now I’m not talking about stuffing Cheetos on our mouths, when I say, ‘consume.’ I say the information that our brain processes on a minute-to-minute basis.

Here’s an experiment;

  • Read the news for a week. Get into the content that the media puts out. Only the news.
  • After a week, you will realise that all you have to talk about is about the news.
  • Over time, your mind is used to such content and that’s all you think about.

Read positivity to be positive. What you read consistently is what you speak about.

Try to diversify. Read as many good writers you can read and also read the amateurs.

If good writers teach you what to do, then amateurs teach you what not to do when you are one of them. Write as you speak. Speak as you read, then write again.

Writes about Writing, Creativity and Building a Life worth remembering.