How I Write and How I Speak

Today, I was having some trouble explaining some idea from my re-purposed argument and my potential podcast.  I wanted just to say “read what I wrote!” Instead, I blubbered.  Perhaps that was a lesson for me though.  Podcasts are supposed to be spoken. So they have to be written as people speak.  Some of  parts can’t even be written; mainly the interview. I can write my questions but I can’t predict what the other person will say.  However, in a way that’s easier. I can adlib (hopefully).  Writing a natural-sounding script is harder than I thought and I thought it would be hard to begin with.  I had to cut out the wordiness that bloats up my writing and transform all my elaborate clauses into simple active sentences.   In the end, I think it’s been good for me.  If you can’t make it simple, you don’t understand it; I have no idea what quote I just distorted there.  Moreover, it’s easier for other people to understand it, if you make it simple. It should be easy then, right?

Writing and speaking are the transference of thought into sentences and words. When I think, unless I’m writing, I usually don’t think in full sentences. I admit, it’s a pretty short interval between when I think about what I’m going to say and what I says. Sometimes there is no real thought at all, like when I stubbed my toe this morning.  So how do we think when we write? Is it a different process than when we think before speaking? For one, when you write on a page you can review what you’re saying as you go. You can’t do that when speaking. Two, there is that time delay between when you write something and when it is “out there”, not the case with speaking. This gives you time to revise. Three, when you speak you usually can interact directly with your audience. You can feed off them. You can change what you’re saying depending on their reaction. When you write, you can imagine your audience or try to create them. However, you’re still fairly solitary. When writing, your audience is only in your head.  You can change your whole piece in revisions but you can’t get a sentence by sentence reaction. You can’t see what they want but only what you think they want. Podcasts are strange. They are a forum for speaking without the benefit of an audience to react to. There is the script which can be revised and worked, which is one benefit. Making a podcast is a lot like writing, even though the medium is the human voice.   A good podcast though is as accessible as a conversation.  NP says it should be like you’re speaking directly to your listeners, rather than vocalizing your writing. So that’s the challenge. Podcasts are writing as you speak, without some of the benefits and drawbacks of speech.  The weird thing is even though radio simplifies the construction of sentences (compared to writing), it is still popular with all different kinds of people. It’s for people who love to read and people who hate to read.

So anyone think of something I missed? Any more notable differences between speaking and writing? Any ways that we speak different than when we write? What positives characteristics can we take from speaking and apply to our writing? What things that we do in our speech should we avoid? Are good writers better speakers, and vice versa?  See, this is part of the issue with writing. The writer is often left with lots of questions that a speaker can just ask. Before the internet, it was difficult to get a direct response. Now, it’s far more possible.

Reading Speaking Writing


One thought to “How I Write and How I Speak”

  1. Julia,

    You did a great job today! I thought your explanation of your re-mediation project was very well done.

    I would add something to your list of the differences between writing and speaking: sound. Yeah, that seems strange and obvious, but I think it’s still important. With one’s voice, a person can give off a different tone that may be perceived in a certain way by audiences. If you sound angry, that will be interpreted differently from a positive, cheerful tone. Speed, use of pauses, and inflection also alter the way in which the listener receives the message of the story.

    Have you given any thought into the way in which you want to deliver your podcast? Are you going to be deliberate in how you speak during recording?

    Great post,


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