Write like You Talk

by Silvio Gulizia

Paul Graham on his blog about writing online:

Informal language is the athletic clothing of ideas.

I love this quote. Try thinking about an idea dressed in a smoking: would you like to talk with her?

People often tell me how much my essays sound like me talking. The fact that this seems worthy of comment shows how rarely people manage to write in spoken language. Otherwise everyone’s writing would sound like them talking.

The solution to this problem is simple:

… write in spoken language. … Before I publish a new essay, I read it out loud and fix everything that doesn’t sound like conversation. I even fix bits that are phonetically awkward; I don’t know if that’s necessary, but it doesn’t cost much.

And then comes the reward:

If you simply manage to write in spoken language, you’ll be ahead of 95% of writers. And it’s so easy to do: just don’t let a sentence through unless it’s the way you’d say it to a friend.