Writing to be heard

My old photographer mate Jay has noticed that I write in “spoken English”.

Stil, you write as you sound, or you sound as you write. Every paragraph has the voice of radio.

Yes, Jay, you’re right. And it’s deliberate. I write so that my words can be read aloud and “sound good”.

I don’t know whether there’s any evidence to back it up, but my theory is that when people read the speech centres of their brain are also active. If so, then I reckon the communication will be more effective, more memorable, if it triggers the natural rhythms of good speech.

When I’m writing, I’m usually sounding out the words in my head. When it comes to the final draft. I usually read it aloud — several times as I polish it.

And to make sure I get the “tone” right, I sometimes use a trick that Keith Conlon taught me. I imagine a specific person sitting across the desk from me. It all helps to write in a more natural style, as one human talking with another.

A Crikey-led traffic burst

Writing for Crikey this week triggered an interesting burst of activity.

  • Website traffic doubled for a couple of days.
  • I was blogged about by Tim Dunlop over in Murdochland.
  • People from my past emerged from the woodwork — including Keith Conlon, the man who first taught me broadcasting.

Weird coincidences upped the traffic too:

  • Interest in Australia’s new ambassador to Italy, Amanda Vanstone, led more than 400 people to read my posting about Boost juice bars.
  • 200 people looking for live TV coverage of the space shuttle landing found my post about the previous shuttle touchdown.

But I’m still getting plenty of folks looking for those goddam Steve Irwin jokes , or discovering how to spell Vodafone.