Writing straight from the heart…

I had several training sessions about conversational writing with Craig over Skype in the past two weeks, and I’m telling you, what I learned was worth the long period that my problematic ears were exposed to the headset.

I must admit that I’m a bit struggling with the conversational writing stuff. Being a teacher (in the past life J), I have this academic-writing orientation which makes me totally a freak. Why? I freak out when I see something wrong with my writing… I freak out when I see or even hear some grammatical error in other’s works.

But in writing with a conversational tone, I don’t need to be that freak. I can somehow let go of the strictures of grammar, and enjoy the freedom that the ‘write-as-you-talk’ principle can give. I know that as a Filipino, it will take some time before I can be an American-sounding conversational writer. But with the help of the following, slowly but surely I can learn how to be one, and a good one at that:

1. Write the way you talk! The basic rule of conversational writing is to put into the paper what you are thinking and saying minus the unnecessary fillers such as ‘hmm,’ ‘er,’ ‘and,’ etc. this gives you a more spontaneous flow of ideas and it sounds more friendly to your readers. It doesn’t  mean you are free to write without order though. You still have to maintain that thing called unity in paragraph writing to ensure that there is thought in your write-up.

2. Maintain the YOU attitude. What is this? Well, it’s the attitude of involving your reader in what you’re talking about. Remember that a conversation is never possible with you alone. You need someone to converse with. So, address them in your article. A simple use of the pronoun ‘you’ will do them a big favor. And to top it all, it makes you sound less selfish and it creates a more personal effect to your reader.

3. Break off from the traditional grammar! Your English teacher might condemn you for doing this. But do we really speak in perfect grammar when we speak? Nope… If you do, then you sound like a book read out loud. This kind of writing makes you deviate from what the gods of English grammar have established long before. Write the way you want, but it doesn’t mean that you have to create your own structure. Otherwise, nobody would understand what you’re trying to say. It’s okay to write beginning with ‘but’s’ and ‘and’s.’It’s all right to write fragments and the like.

4. Use contractions. What really differentiates conversational from formal writing is the use of contractions. When we talk, never do we speak with the words perfectly pronounced. We speak with a lazy attitude that we join two words to create a comfier feel for your reader.

5. Read your work out loud. This is a good test in making sure that your writing is right. If you feel that your statements don’t sound correct or natural, time to tweak it. Say it out loud or let others say it for you and you will realize whether you’re doing it right or not at all.

 

 

This is probably one thing I’ve learned to do and to appreciate here at VAT. On my 20th day, I guess that’s already a good thing for me to know that whenever I go back to teaching or last long here with the good pool of workers or end up somewhere else, I could share with others.

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