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Stop Writing Like An Author

For years I struggled to write.

Whatever I wrote did meet my standards. I wanted my writing to sound like the authors I was reading at the time. I tried to sound like Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jhumpa Lahiri, and James Clear.

If I couldn’t write like them, what is the point of writing, I would groan.

I wanted my prose to sing.

If my stories are not as interesting as David Sedaris’s, why bother.

But writing had gone in my blood, and it just wouldn’t go away.

I loved writing diaries and journals because there I could be myself and write whichever way it came to me.

Sometimes I would go back and read them and wonder did I write this? Why can’t I write like that when I am writing books or articles.

The answer was when I wrote for publishing, I tried to write like an author — perfect prose with an authoritative voice. I wrote from my brain.

In my diaries, I wrote from the heart.

If I were pondering a question, I would write down what I was thinking. I would write things that were bothering me without hesitation.

One thought would lead to another, and unexpected connections will form. As a result, the prose would be more engaging and passionate.

I was not an author there. I was me.

So I decided to use the same approach to writing articles. I am typing this story on my phone after dinner on Friday evening as soon as the idea for this article came to me.

I am even typing with both thumbs, something I have never done before, to keep up with the flow of thoughts.

The best articles I read are written in a conversational tone. This is how Jessica Wildfire writes. She picks big-touchy topics and then writes about them as if she is confiding her thoughts to her best friend. That makes her articles so engrossing. No doubt so has clarity of thought. For readers, the articles are lightweight and yet thought-provoking. Conversational style helps her with that too.

When you stop being an author, you stop looking for perfect prose and say what you want to say plainly and simply.

Sometimes while trying to craft good prose, you lose what you want to say.

Good prose is effortless. It comes to you in your spoken words. You only need to tighten them.

And it is much quicker, more fluent, and has a better impact.

It would have taken me at least an hour if I had written this article like an author. I would be looking for relevant quotes, try to be preachy, and as a result, this piece wouldn’t have flowed well.

And I would spend another hour fixing it.

Now I wrote it in flat 15 minutes.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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