Injecting Authenticity in your Writing

Does this sound familiar?

You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen, or your current unfinished project.

A fear sets in. A fear of making mistakes, fear that what you wrote would sound stupid, fear that you’re writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.

You try to compensate for your writing fears by using stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” that you know what you’re talking about.
 

This happens to a lot of writers. This has happened to me.

It can easily backfire, as this can sometimes create unfair judgment, and make you and your work sound pretentious. By not being true to yourself, your writing will suffer.

Wanting desperately to sound smart in my writing, I took a Creative Writing Class in high school. Well, I took it because I loved writing, but that was a big concern of mine at the time. In one of her lessons, the teacher gave me some pretty awesome advice.

“Write the way you talk.”

I was baffled! It was such a simple, yet liberating thought! That one piece of advice (and a safe place to exercise this new discovery) helped me break free of my fears of not being “smart enough” to publish my work, and allowed me to adopt a more relaxed writing style. No more using large, unnecessary words just to try and impress the reader! I was determined at that point on to relax, be myself, and write.

Although it is important to write in your own voice, I would like to mention that writing the way you talk doesn’t mean write poorly. Please be aware of grammar, sentence structure, continuity, and all those other awesome things that create a well written piece! What this allows to do is helps break down those mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keeps us from being a more engaging and productive writer.

*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way a writing expert. The following advice is what I learned in school and has worked for me, but may not work for others.*

Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding pompous:

IMAGINE YOURSELF HAVING A CHAT WITH A TRUSTED FRIEND

Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you!

If you were having a conversation with that person,

  • What words would you use?
  • What would you talk about first?
  • What examples would you give to help them understand your topic?
  • What questions might they ask?

Approaching your writing this way will help you write a copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, which better engages your audience.

RECORD YOURSELF TALKING ABOUT YOUR TOPIC

Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic! (I understand that this can be daunting! It was (and still is) weird hearing my own voice, but it really helps!)

TAKE A DEEP BREATH, RELAX, AND JUST BE YOURSELF

By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.

USE THE SAME WORDS THAT YOU DO IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.

So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then chances are you need a different word.

TOSS OUT THE “RULE BOOK” AND JUST START WRITING

If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, put the “rule book” away for now and just write. Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft.

Once you’ve done that, you can easily go back and edit your writing.

  • Do you notice any obvious errors?
  • Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote?
    • If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.

After you’ve made those corrections, leave your work to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Once you do that, it’s easier to see if anything can be done to make your work even better.

ENLIST THE HELP OF A CLOSE FRIEND TO KEEP YOU HONEST

Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?

Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read your writing, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.

READ WHAT YOU WRITE OUT LOUD

This is an excellent first editing test. Reading what you write out loud makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally stumble over the parts that need to be fixed.

So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up; they may need some additional work.

 

Was this article helpful? How do you inject authenticity in your work? 🙂

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The Stages of Attraction

Ah, love. Most readers enjoy a bit of romance or even romantic entanglement. They enjoy this because it reflects real life. Most people’s lives have some romance in them, and likes to see some romantic exchange in a novel. Romance, being (often) a big part of real life means it usually has a place in a novel. In order for a romance to be believable, it’s important to include subtle gestures and words to insinuate interest, flirting, desire and (gasp!) lust. We do this subconsciously in real life, so it stands to reason that it should be included in literature too!

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Both men and women display different subtle hints that they are interested in someone. This list below is a general rule, and doesn’t mean that it applies to everyone. Some women may display subtle gestures from the men’s list, and vice versa. This list is simply to help the creative flow, and to maybe help notice if that special someone likes you back! 😉 giphy13

Female Viewpoint

Interest

  • Body posture stiffening and possibly a visible intake of breath
  • Glancing down or away only to look back
  • A smile that spreads when on is caught ”looking”
  • Angling one’s body towards the other person
  • Pushing hair back from one’s face (tucking behind an ear, etc.)

Flirting

  • Asking about their interests and opinions
  • Leaning in or stepping closer, entering their personal space
  • Touching one’s face and hair while speaking
  • Varying the timbre of one’s voice to keep them listening
  • Fiddling with a necklace to draw their gaze there

Desire

  • Tilting the head to expose one’s neck
  • Lingering or suggestive touches (trailing fingers along their collar,etc.)
  • Gaze drifting between their eyes and lips
  • Wetting one’s lips
  • Trembling or one’s breath visibly hitching slightly

Lust

  • Yielding to their embrace, sliding arms around them
  • Vocalizing (breathing becoming rushed, emitting small moans or gasps)
  • Lifting one’s lips to be kissed
  • Touching their jawline, running fingers through their hair
  • Pulling at their clothes to touch their skin

 

Male Viewpoint

Interest

  • The body going still momentarily
  • Eye contact that sticks and then takes the whole body in
  • Shifting to display one’s chest and shoulders
  • Smiling and moving closer to engage
  • Placing hands near one’s pelvis (thumbs through belt loops, etc.)

Flirting

  • Offering jokes and light banter
  • Asking questions that grow more personal
  • ”Accidental touches” (leg bumps, hand brushing, etc.)
  • Active listening, watching other person’s lips
  • Mirroring body language

Desire

  • A gaze that explores and suggests
  • Active touches (stroking the other person’s arm,cupping a chin) and direct eye contact
  • Erasing personal distance (taking their hands, pulling them close)
  • Increased swallowing
  • Lips that are slightly parted

Lust

  • Fumbling with clothing that feels restrictive
  • Pulling the person in to claim, body-to-body contact
  • Kisses that test, then deepen and grow more urgent
  • Vocalizing (heavy breathing, whispering one’s desires)
  • Cupping the person’s neck, hands carving through the person’s hair

I hope this will help with your character and writing creations!

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This is how I show that I’m interested. Act fast though. before I eat it.

 

The myths and stories about writing

I love to write. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been working on writing projects (of varying quality, of course!) My first project was called ”The Little Girl And Her Ball”, and it was originally written in french. It was a simple tale; a little girl was playing with her ball, loses it, and goes on a journey to find it again.  Bestseller material right there.

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Anyways, writing has always been an important part in my life, and I strive to improve every day. I’m in no way an expert, but who knows, it might happen some day! 🙂 It’s important to me, but also to millions of people. Writing is the primary basis upon which communication, history, record keeping, and art has begun. We encounter writing every day of our lives, and can take a bounty of different forms. Each piece, in varying degrees of intensity, reflects its author. I can’t imagine a life without writing!

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A dozen caffeinated teas and a bowl of Reese’s Pieces later. I will finish that novel, dammit!

Among many ancient societies, writing held a extremely special and important role. Often writing is so revered that myths and deities were drawn up to explain its divine origin.

*WARNING – HISTORY LESSON AHEAD*

In ancient Egypt, the invention of writing is attributed to the god Thoth, who was the scribe and historian of the gods. In some Egyptian myths, Thoth is also portrayed as the creator of speech and possessing the power to transform speech into material objects. This ties in closely with the Egyptian belief that in order for a person to achieve immortality his or her name must be spoken or inscribed somewhere forever.

In Mesopotamia, the god Enlil was the creator of writing. Later, the god Nabu was credited as the inventor of writing and scribe of the gods. And similar to Thoth, Mesopotamian scribal gods also exhibit the power of creation via divine speech.

Among the Maya, the supreme deity Itzamna was a shaman and sorceror as well as the creator of the world. Itzamna was also responsible for the creation of writing and time-keeping.

In China, the invention of writing was not attributed to a deity but instead to a ancient sage named Ts’ang Chieh, who was a minister in the court of the legendary Huang Ti. While not divine, this invention served as a communication tool between heaven (realm of gods and ancestors) and earth (realm of humans).

Whether as a medium to communicate with the gods, or as a magical or supernatural power, writing clearly possessed a divine nature in these ancient cultures. Writing became not only a way to extend memory but also a tool for the elite to justify their rule upon the common, illiterate people.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to work on my writing projects that are easy to start, but can never finish :/ #writingproblems

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This is 100% accurate. I swear.