I started making videos 2 weeks ago and only 2 videos into this journey, I already feel like a better writer.
There's this popular advice: write as if you're talking to friend. Uhm, it doesn't work unless you actually talk.
I've been applying this advice to my writing for several months. Only when I tried reading my articles in front of the camera, I realized I have not been writing as if talking. I had been writing as if writing. Talking is a whole different mindset.
Writing, especially if you come from academic or corporate backgrounds, can involve so many filler words that when you try to read it as a script it sounds boring, complicated, and distracting.
Writing and talking have different sentence structures. When talking, we tend to empathize with the listener. We start by building a connection. This is what makes a sentence become worthy of reading. For example:
- The ways by which our brain makes connection between two seemingly unrelated things is called [xxx].
sounds a lot different than,
- Your brain makes connections between two seemingly unrelated things. This is called [xxx].
- Have you ever heard of something called [xxx]? It's when your brain makes connection between two seemingly unrelated things.
although they mean the same thing on paper.
No matter how hard you try to simplify your writing, you never get to write as if talking unless you actually talk.
The best way to do it is by recording yourself. Reading one of your blog posts in front of the camera (without even trying to look presentable) will rewire your brain in ways that aren't possible otherwise.
As you say each sentence out loud, you'll come up with ways to say it better or in a simpler way.
This is not the same as proofreading. It's only when we are accountable to an audience, we come up with ways to become a better speaker. Being in front of the camera, or better, watching yourself afterwards, means skin in the game.
Becoming a better speaker helps you clear out your mind. It helps you focus on what matters. By getting rid of the filler words, the indirectness, and the complexity, you explain things better. Guess what, the better you explain, the more rewarding it will feel.
The more you do this, the better a thinker you'll become. Better thinkers become better writers.
Writing, speaking, and thinking are not separate skills. Each one adds fuel to the other two. Ignoring any one of those three is keeping you away from improving the rest.
I admit that filming yourself is uncomfortable, but it's worth giving a shot. Speaking in front of a real audience, even if that audience is only you, will make you a better thinker and a writer.
You don't need better writing or editing skills. Filming yourself will do the trick.