Which is the Easiest – Writing or Speaking?

I guess I was destined to be a writer since, as far back as I can remember, I have always found it easier to express myself in writing than orally. I think there are several possible reasons for this. Firstly, it could be down to the fact that I have an inner confidence hidden behind a façade of low self-esteem. I know that my writing is good and, whilst I’m not one to brag, as a writer it’s important to have self-belief in your work. Writers get many knock-backs and it’s only by having that inner belief that you find the tenacity to continue in what you’re doing.

Public SpeakingSecondly is the fact that with the written word your imagination can run riot and you can have as many attempts as it takes to perfect what you want to put across. The use of a good thesaurus is also invaluable. Sometimes when I’m writing I know that there is a word that captures precisely what I want to say, but I can’t quite recall it. So, for the time being, I’ll use a word that I’m not totally satisfied with. Then usually, by either consulting a thesaurus or returning to the piece of work later, I can find that word. I can also proofread my work after my brain has had a chance to rest so that I can approach it afresh. This gives me the opportunity to correct any mistakes. In speech, on the other hand, if you drop a clanger you can’t scrub it out. When I was younger I was forever ‘putting my foot in it’. Thankfully, nowadays I don’t do that so much, but I still wouldn’t feel confident addressing a room full of people.

Thirdly, I’m not always too good at coming up with ideas when under pressure, but I have a powerful subconscious, which tends to spring to life when I am more relaxed. I feed my subconscious with the right influences by immersing myself in the particular genre or writing style that I am producing and also by carrying out research. This helps me to ‘get in the zone’. For example, if I have to write a comedy piece, I will read work by others that is in a similar tone and style. By doing this I find that my ideas start to flow. If I have to express my ideas verbally I usually prefer to rehearse what I am going to say rather than share my spontaneous thoughts.Brainstorming

Maybe it’s something to do with being creative, but I find that in order to come up with good ideas I have to sometimes push the boundaries a little. This means that I often brainstorm to myself before I arrive at something workable. It can entail coming up with some wacky ideas initially, but I put them all down on paper because these help to feed my imagination further so that I can eventually hit on the right one.

I would be interested to know whether you also find it easier to express yourself in writing or whether you make a good orator as well. Please feel free to share your comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Which is the Easiest – Writing or Speaking?

  1. I am sure we all appreciate how with speaking you only have one chance. On the one hand I hate interviews and invariably make a mess of them, but I enjoy giving speeches and presentations as I like the attention and they always seem to go well if you are well prepared. Fortunately you shouldn’t have to do to much public speaking Diane, at least not until you are famous.

    • Guy, Thanks for your feedback. I used to give presentations to my staff when I worked in credit control but that was a long, long time ago. I would like to regain my confidence as I know that writers can get many speaking opportunities that help to publicise their work. I keep meaning to join toastmasters in Manchester so that I can practice public speaking in a friendly environment but it is yet another task on my never-ending list. 🙂

  2. I’m the same… I can express myself in writing far better than face to face. I have trouble coming up with ideas if challenged face to face but given time to think about it, I can put something of great significance in writing and articulate it well. Also similar to you, I often cannot think of the word I need to use, whether it be in writing or when speaking! More and more these days, I know there’s a perfect word, I can almost hear it in my head but my brain can’t pick it out – so, especially when writing, I have dictionary.com open all the time and refer to its thesaurus often! I can’t do without it. 🙂

    • Thank Alice, I’m glad it’s not just me that can’t think of the word I want to use – it’s definitely getting worse for me with age, especially if I have a lot of work on and have a million different thoughts running around in my head. You can’t beat a good thesaurus, can you?

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