Paralysis plagues many aspiring writers. People worry about sounding foolish or making grammatical mistakes. As a VA copy writer, I’m always reminding my clients, “That’s why we edit!”
Write Like You Talk
I encourage all my clients to write like they talk. Some people are skeptical. But, it really helps.
Benefits of Writing Like You Talk
- Most people find they write faster when they don’t worry about editing. If your document has already been outlined (even a rough outline), just put your hands on a keyboard and pound out your thoughts. It will go faster than worrying about the precise language you want to use.
- Your voice can come through authentically when you write how you talk. You can eliminate redundancies and unclear phrases during editing process.
- The process bypasses the logical part of your brain (spelling and grammar) and frees up creativity. That’s what you really need to make those essential connections between your thoughts.
After you finish writing, you can check these common mistakes.
Things to Look For When Proofreading
Most people need to focus on these key areas when they edit. So, you can work through them when you’re in a task-oriented mode (after you’ve finished feeling creative).
Read your sentences aloud going in reverse order. Basically, you start at the end of your document and read the last sentence.
Make corrections if necessary. Then, read your second-to-last sentence.
Continue reading all your sentences in reverse order. Say them aloud and listen carefully. As long as you are a native english speaker, you’ll “hear” your mistakes as you read aloud. Then, you can fix them.
This will catch mistakes that grammar and spell check rules often miss.
Make a list next of you on a sheet of paper with all the punctuation types.
- period .
- comma ,
- question mark ?
- semicolon ;
- colon :
- Em Dash
- En Dash
- Hyphen –
- Elipsis …
- Quotes ” “
Start at the top of the list and google the most common mistakes for that form of punctuation. Then, find each instance using your word processor function. Check it against the common grammar infractions. Repeat this for each type of punctuation.
Replace Passive Voice
Use the find function to find all the variations of be. This includes is, was, were, etc. Each time you find it, replace it with an action word. Usually, you’ll need to flip the object of the sentence to the subject.
Check the Logical Flow of Points
Use a reverse outline method to see if your points flow logically. This works for both non-fiction and fiction.
Start with several blank pieces of paper beside you. Start outlining your document as you read through it. Then, compare to your original outline for the document. This helps you find misplaced points and remove tangents.
Writing Style Tips
As a VA copy writer, I help my clients elevate their voice during the editing process. I encourage them to simply write like they talk and worry about cleaning it up later. You’ll be surprised how quickly your first draft takes shape with this method.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll appreciate my other articles about writing and communication. I often write about communication, psychology, and other creative topics. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to be the first to know when new content drops.