Five tips to sound more like yourself when you write about what you do.
Weekly email archives and occasional extra words that don't have a home anywhere else on my site.
Does this sound familiar, Paige?
That’s a Slack message I got from a fellow StoryBrand Certified Guide a couple of weeks ago. (It’s also a Voxer I got from my friend Sandy. And emails I’ve gotten from, idk, every. single. client. I’ve ever worked with.)
I told him at the time that I’ve always been able to “write like me.”
Then I realized that’s a damn lie: I struggled for years to talk about my business like this.
And for me — a lifelong Word Person with a penchant for metaphor and the vocabulary of a crossword die-hard 🤓 — it ultimately took little more than a permission slip.
I finally saw enough folks in my space putting unconventional copy out there that I decided it was okay to wild out with my own words.
But while Just Do It works for Nike (and I guess me?), it doesn’t work for everybody. So here are five ideas to try on for size. Ready?
The words coming out of your mouth can (and should) translate to words on your screen.
Find someone outside of your industry to talk to. Have them interview you about what you do — and make you keep talking until they actually understand what you do and why it matters to you. Again, record it and listen back.
Jargon and hyperformality die a quick and deservedly painful death when you remember there’s an actual person listening to or reading it.
Open a blank doc in your Notes app and paste a particularly “meh” chunk of your writing at the top. Now relaaaaax and play.
How would you phrase it in a text to your bestie? How would you use it as a Instagram caption with your favorite photo of yourself? How would you deliver it at a comedy open mic?
When you write with zero stakes and no pressure to publish, does it feel any different?
Not a business book. Not a book about writing. A just-for-fun book: fiction, nonfiction, memoir, humor, even a kids’ bedtime story. Keep reading. Be voracious as you get reacquainted with reading (and enjoying!) casual, conversational writing in a variety of styles.
Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
It’s me. Hi. I’m the coach; it’s me!
Getting fresh eyes on your words can make all the difference, even in just an hour (or two). If your writing is giving 👔 and you’re going for 🤗, let’s look at your copy together and mind-meld on bringing the vibe down to earth — without losing the substance.
P.S. There’s a fine line between “sounding like yourself” and becoming a card-carrying member of the Trying Too Hard Club 😬
So here’s a bonus tip: Get feedback on your writing, whether that’s from me or someone else you trust to spill the tea on what works and what doesn’t.
Sound scary? Not any scarier than raw dogging it and not knowing how your stuff’s hitting.
Y’know: Just do it.
F-S: Reserved for rest