Two things today made this prompt quite relevant. The first was when my admin assistant was laughing over an email she got. After sending out a politely worded follow up to a client, she got back an email that said “Um, well…” She couldn’t quite wrap her head around the idea that someone had actually written an um, as if they were talking instead of writing.
And my friend Ann from Writing.com responded to the letters I sent her, saying that my babbling letters reminded her of the long, newsy ones she used to get from her older relatives when they were alive.
For me, writing is like thinking through my fingers. I think that’s such an awesome quote. I know that we have the ability to edit what we write, especially when using computers instead of pen and paper, but other than correcting typos, I often don’t edit my writing. I’m not talking about poems and stories, which obviously need editing and revising, but rather blog entries, emails, letters, forum posts, etc. I also write like I think. This is particularly true when I’m writing snail mail letters, as I have a tendency to just babble as if they were on the other end of the phone line or similar. I have definitely been known to write ‘um’, ‘hmm’ and other ‘vocalised pauses’.
When I was in high school (and even in years since), people used to moan about minimum word lengths for written assignments. I’ve never in my life had a problem meeting a minimum word length. Ha ha! I have definitely had the reverse problem though, trying to trim my words and make them more concise to fit a word limit. But babbling? Even on a technical subject? That’s easy.
There’s definitely a time and a place for it. I know that I shouldn’t use ‘um’ in a formal work email, or a uni assignment. But I also know that it makes my blog entries more conversational and my letters more personal. I suppose that ultimately it’s part of what gives my writing a personal voice. Right? People are always saying you should find your own voice when it comes to your writing. Writing like I’m thinking, or how I talk, is part of my writing voice.