Don’t write it, teach it


Sometimes, we get stuck trying to collect our thoughts and cogently express them. If you ever suffer from that affliction, you might try something I learned from another attorney who does a lot of writing.

He suggests making an outline of key points, as you might for a slide presentation, and narrating those points as if you were teaching them.

Record and transcribe your “talk” and you’ll have the skeleton of your article, if not the entire article—at least the first draft.

I’ve tried it and like it.

It’s liberating because there’s no pressure to “write”. You just talk. Your thoughts might not yet be completely fleshed out, your words might need “fixing,” but what you say (write) should flow smoothly out of you and onto the page.

This is easier to do when you know your subject well but even if you don’t, you can quickly present the basic ideas and come back for another pass to fill in the blanks and tidy things up.

The first time I heard this, I thought it was a bit simplistic, but then I realized that the best writing, mine included, is conversational, which is no doubt what is meant when we are told to write like we talk.

Give this a try. In fact, I challenge you to do it right now with a brief blog post, article or email.

Pick a topic and a working title or email subject.

Jot down 3-5 bullet points to cover and if you have examples or stories that illustrate your points, note these too.

Grab your phone or recording device and talk your way through your points for just 5 minutes.

If you’re like me, the first time you try this, you’ll be amazed at how many words you get, and how (nearly) ready they to publish they are.

More writing ideas here