Can I put it into words? 

By Karen Newcombe

For many people, the second most terrifying thing after the thought of public speaking is sitting down in front of a blank page and trying to write. 

A jumble of word magnets.

Clients have told me that one of the first questions that comes to mind for them is "Can I put this into words?"  

You want what you write to be accurate and interesting, you want to sound intelligent, and let's face it, you want to end up looking good when people read your words. But notice that the question "Can I put this into words?" is not the same as "Can I sit at a keyboard and write several thousands of sentences?" 

I would like to reassure you that if you can put your thoughts into words, the writing can get done, too. I have never yet had to tell anyone "this can't be done."  

There are some great methods for helping people put their ideas into words. These aren't tricks, they are simply common sense, but when you're faced with that terrifying blank page, they may not occur to you. You may already do some or all of these things, but not with the purpose in mind of writing:

  1. Talk it out: get a voice recorder or videocam and just start talking into it. We are verbal creatures and it is often easier to sit and talk about something than it is to write it down. We only invented writing a few thousand years ago, yet humans have probably been using language for at least 100,000 years, and proto-languages for perhaps 2 million years. Talking is naturally easier for us than writing. 
  2. Have someone question you: Nothing is as valuable as a good question. Get someone to ask you as many questions as they can think of about the topic you want to address. Those questions will help you focus your topic, and help you define areas that need research or more detailed explanation. 
  3. Teach your topic: In karate we learn that the best way to gain understanding is to teach someone else. To gain understanding of your topic, try explaining it or teaching it to someone. The discipline of teaching will force you to organize your thoughts and express them in a way that someone else can understand and learn from. 

Take courage: if you're capable of talking, answering a question, or explaining your topic to someone, then yes, you are capable of putting your ideas into words, and those words can be turned into your articles and books. 

Are you ready to become an author? 

Photo credit: Chris Blakeley / / CC BY-NC-ND

232QAWS© Karen L. Newcombe 2016     Email:   Phone: 954-428-5457