Write How You Write, Not How You Speak
Genre Types

Write How You Write, Not How You Speak

Writing your self-published bookEveryone enjoys telling a story, whether it’s a treasured memory from the past or the funny incident that occurred on the way to work.

When it comes to writing a self-published book for the enjoyment of others, more thought will be needed to turn a memorable story into a well-written manuscript.

It doesn’t matter if you are writing your autobiography or a potential Pulitzer prize-winning novel, if your content basically mirrors your “unique” manner of speaking, the novelty of the story will be lost.

While writing your manuscript, be mindful that your book will not include hand gestures and facial expressions – readers won’t understand that this part of the story requires a certain movement or needs to be said with a smile. Identify instead how you can express in words the same sentiment without the obvious movement.

Bad spelling (or pronunciation of a word) can be hidden with stories told in person but is revealed in all its glory when down on paper. Nobody is perfect when it comes to spelling, but consulting a dictionary (or even utilizing your computer’s spell check) is important when unsure of a particular word. You definitely don’t want to be known as the Christian writer who can’t spell.

Inside jokes or stories always seem to take more time to explain to someone who wasn’t there, so choose anecdotes that can be universally enjoyed by those present in the story and those hearing it secondary.

Pauses are okay when you are trying to create dramatic effect in a story, but they come across as less impactful in writing.  Instead of heavy use of ellipsis (…) or stating “you know what I mean?” frequently, try to create sentences in a paragraph that will paint the scene of the story for the reader without a need for a content pause.

Once you have your manuscript ready for editing and print, an author’s last step should be to have a trusted friend (who is grammatically knowledgeable) read over the manuscript. Their insight will make clear when you drift into speaking mode instead of writing mode, preserving the book’s “voice” without need for your voice.


Blair Townley joined the Xulon Press family as a Staff Editor in May 2013, helping first-time authors prepare their treasured manuscripts for publication. Prior to Xulon Press, she previously worked as a staff writer/editor for several Central Florida-based magazines over the past decade. What Blair enjoys most about writing and editing is getting to help others share their stories, helping others see themselves as the unique individuals God created them to be.

8 Comments on “Write How You Write, Not How You Speak

    1. Thank You Barbara for your comment. We hope that this advice will be beneficial to you as you prepare your stories for publication. Something as simple as being mindful of how your stories are presented to readers can open up your manuscript to even more readers interested in your stories. Hope your writing continues to progress and God Bless.

    1. There is no need to feel paranoid, Jeff, as this is a general blog post for any readers who are interested. It is a common part of editing we run into and we wanted to include this post to help readers open up their writing to even more readers. We know each reader’s story is inspiring and our job is to help manuscripts be understood and enjoyed by all readers. Take care with your writing and God Bless.

      1. Whew, thanks Blair. 🙂

        Feedback truly is the breakfast of champions and I’m looking forward to any and all feedback from the manuscript review process.

        Nearly 30 years at Disney have embedded a deep appreciation for the continuous improvement process.

  1. This has been very helpful and I want to use everything possible to create a book that express my thoughts in the best way. I have always wanted to do this and now in my life I feel it’s time. Again thank you.

    1. We are happy to help, Rolanda, and are excited to hear that you are going to be writing and publishing a book. We look forward to seeing your manuscript and helping you to achieve your dream of being a published writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *