Finding Your Voice Online
Write Like You Talk
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How do you find your voice online? It’s easier than you think. Read today’s post and make sure to watch the video tutorial at the end.
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School fucked you over.
They taught you how to write for the factory that is corporate America. They taught you to write boring, lengthy, and formal. They taught you how to sound like everyone else.
To get attention on your writing online, it takes a lot of untraining from the re-education camps that are known as school and college. We all start as kids writing in our own voices, get re-educated for 10 years, and then if we choose to start writing or creating content, we have to go through the lengthy process of finding our natural voices from childhood. Some people never find theirs.
I found mine thanks to thousands of cups of coffee and hours typing away.
Every day I sit with a large class of iced coffee and fight a battle with the English teachers of Writing Past—Mrs. Barsa (7th grade), Mrs. Morrone (9th grade), and the dozen god-awful, pretentious ass motherfucker English professors at college I can’t even remember the names of—to reclaim the voice they tried to suppress. Every day, even after countless hours and cups of coffee, I still fight the battle to shut them up and make my voice shine through.
I recently made a breakthrough in this war.
I found a writing hack akin to Oppenheimer figuring out the atom bomb.
WRITE LIKE YOU TALK
Recently, I learned the saying "write like you talk."
Make your writing sound like your natural voice. Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s actually quite hard. It requires ignoring everything your English teachers told you about being fancy—and writing just like you talk.
I’ve done 5 things which have helped. Here’s the first 4 which have helped tremendously. The 5th in the below section is the real kicker.
I curse when I talk in real life, so I curse in my writing. In 2nd grade, I got called to the principal for cursing. Didn't stop me then, not gonna stop now. I’ve actually gotten an email from a reader asking me to stop cursing so she can share my stuff more. Nope, not gonna happen. This ain’t church sweetie, this is the motherfucking internet.
I talk like a tech bro, so I write like a tech bro. I don't try to sound fancy and LARP as an eloquent academic. I know plenty of SAT words, but I'm not trying to get an A+. I'm trying to get as many people to understand my writing as possible. As fellow tech bro extraordinaire Paul Graham explained, “I try to write using ordinary words and simple sentences. That kind of writing is easier to read, and the easier something is to read, the more deeply readers will engage with it. The less energy they expend on your prose, the more they'll have left for your ideas. [...] When you write in a fancy way to impress people, you're making them do extra work just so you can seem cool. It's like trailing a long train behind you that readers have to carry."
I talk about rap a lot, so I incorporate rap lyrics into my writing. Rap has had a huge influence on my writing and career and I know the same is true for millions. Idc if you personally don't get it, there's millions of people that will get it and appreciate it.
I talk about my life and experiences. You're gonna write online and you're not gonna talk about your real life at all??? WHAT. You haven't done ANYTHING worth writing about? You've had NO conversations worth writing about? C'mon dig a little deeper, show people your true self and they'll love you for it.
All of this has worked pretty well…
But my inner editor is still on trying to correct grammar and delete words as I type. It’s frustrating as hell. I'm sure you know the feeling. Fortunately, I've found a hack to fix this. I've figured out the easiest way to write like you talk.
#5. Literally talk out your writing.
I felt like a completely dumbass when I figured this out. How the hell have I been writing without this? You literally just talk to your laptop or phone. Then use exactly what you say in tweets, blogs, scripts, etc. with very little editing.
This will capture your natural voice. Don’t spend too long cleaning it up or making it sound fancy. Don’t use AI to turn your words into some boring fancy word soup. Just embrace sounding like you—and you’ll stand out online.
Here's how I do it on my laptop and phone:
MACBOOK: Go to Apple menu → System Settings → Keyboard → Dictation. It'll give you a little icon on your screen that lets you talk into any software (Twitter, email, whatever). Boom. I’ve been talking out a lot of my writing.
PHONE: On my phone, I use a program called Otter.AI to record myself talking out ideas when I'm walking my dog. I then copy and paste the transcript into tweets, blogs, scripts, whatever. It's like voice memos, but you don't have to spend 20 min listening to yourself talk to finding your good ideas. Pro Tip: Otter also has a homescreen shortcut so you can legit click record in 1 button while you’re on the go.
Here's a video with a much better explanation:
Goal: build the #1 corner on the internet for cyberpunk creatives:
🤯 A fascinating article about the history of Demoscene: a scene of artists showcasing or “demo-ing” what their computers can do with crazy art. Get ready to watch some wild demos from 90s and early 2000s.
🎤 Fascinated by cybersecurity and hacking? Listen to Darknet Diaries: true stories from the dark side of the internet. Tbh, I’ve probably listened to more episodes of this pod than any other one.
🐦 Fellow Twitter addicts! For all things drafting and scheduling, I recently switched over to Typefully. The UI/UX is a lot more natural for writers than any other Twitter schedulers.
🔨 Wild story of a 22-year-old building semiconductors in his garage. He’s documented his process on YouTube and his blog and hopes his efforts will get more people tinkering. As you know, I love tinkering.
NERD OF THE WEEK: ME 😏
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MEMES OF THE WEEK
Maybe I should join the UN… seems like I’m qualified
They’re content creators
— Jason Okundaye (@jasebyjason)
Oct 17, 2023
Me every day
when you want to stay stinky but she says it's bath time !
— rob (@OkButStill)
Oct 17, 2023
Dating apps should have a section with a drop-down menu of different terror attacks and you can select which ones you condemn.
— Cameron Bradford (@camerobradford)
Oct 16, 2023
BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE:
just went skinnydipping and raised $30 million, a16z sure knows how to throw bangers!!!
— Jason Levin (@iamjasonlevin)
Oct 21, 2023
Thanks for reading nerds.
Create some cool shit this week.
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