No, it’s not writing about nature. It means you write in a way that flows well and sounds natural. As if you were talking to someone. Now, we’re not saying to write slang words and half-finished sentences, because that wouldn’t read very well. So, what is natural writing? Read more to find out!
Write like you talk (kind of)
As we mentioned before, natural writing is writing in a way that’s similar to how you talk. Except a little prettier. Words like ‘kinda’ and ‘yeah’ and ‘cuz’ aren’t generally accepted as ‘professional’ language, so if you want to write for businesses (maybe your own) you should avoid slang.
However, there are things you can copy from the way you talk. For example, keeping things short and to the point! Just think about it: If you’re telling a story to friends, you won’t spend paragraphs introducing your story. Generally, you give context in a few sentences before you dive right in. And that’s also what you should do when writing!
Use short and common words
If you’re a language nerd, you probably know a lot of big, impressive words. Which is exceptional, exemplary, and marvelous! But they can also make your texts harder to read. If you use short and simple words, your writing will read more quickly. Of course, it’s fine to use ‘receive’ instead of ‘get’ every once in a while. But try to keep your vocabulary relatively simple.
Read your texts out loud
Natural writing is all about flow. The best way to find out if your story flows well and sounds natural is to read it out loud. You’ll quickly notice which parts feel awkward, too long, or overly formal. Imagine how you would say those sentences if you were telling the story instead. Then write that down.
Don’t overuse your keyword
Why not? Well, if you repeat the same keyword over and over again, your text will read very unnaturally. Just think about it. Would you rather read: “A blueberry pie is the best dessert to eat during the holidays. Everyone likes blueberry pie. That’s why I created this blueberry pie recipe. So you can treat everyone with a delicious blueberry pie this year.” Or: “A blueberry pie is the best dessert to eat during the holidays. Everyone likes it. That’s why I created this recipe, so you can treat everyone this year.” The second reads better, right?
And overusing your keyword is not even necessary for your SEO! Because Google wants your audience to have a great experience on your website. But if your text is unreadable, your audience will quickly click away, and Google won’t rank your page or post very high.
Let your sentences flow
Okay, we mentioned ‘flow’ a few times now. After all, flow is important if you want your text to read naturally. But what does it mean when a text flows well? Generally, a good flow is when your sentence length alternates. You can go: short, medium, long. Or: long, short, long. Heck, you could even try: short, short, long. As long as you alternate your sentence length and never write four short/medium/long sentences in a row, you’re good to go! And try to read your writing out loud afterwards. It really does help!
Dictate, then write
If you’re struggling with writing like you speak, why not switch it around? Dictate your text, or simply record what you’re saying, then write it down. Of course, you’ll still need to review your text. When people talk they sometimes forget the point they’re trying to make. But that’s fine. You can always edit and adjust until it sounds coherent.
The text was written naturally by you
This is an example of a passive sentence. And let’s be honest: Who talks in passive sentences? No one! Sure, they come up every once in a while, but not often. So if you want to write more naturally, be mindful of the passive voice. It can come across as impersonal, or simply boring.
Unfortunately, passive sentences still creep into your texts sometimes. So what do you need to look out for? Search for sentences with the word ‘to’. People often use ‘to’ when they’re slipping into a passive voice. For example, “When it’s time to clean your house, you better clear your calendar.” A more active sentence would be: “Clear your calendar before you clean your house.” Or even: “Need to clean your house? Then clear your calendar.”
Good to note: Passive sentences aren’t wrong. They’re totally fine to use every once in a while. Just be mindful of them. Especially if you tend to use them a lot in your writing. Luckily, the Yoast SEO Premium plugin scans your text and highlights passive sentences, so you can easily fix them.
Example of what natural writing is
Natural writing sounds great in theory, but what does it look like in practice? Well, let’s look at an example. First, we have a formal and slightly boring text:
Stamp collecting is generally accepted as one of the areas that make up the wider subject of philately, which is the study of stamps. A philatelist may, but does not have to, collect stamps. It is not uncommon for the term philatelist to be used to mean a stamp collector. Many casual stamp collectors accumulate stamps for sheer enjoyment and relaxation without worrying about the tiny details. The creation of a large or comprehensive collection, however, generally requires some philatelic knowledge and will usually contain areas of philatelic studies.
Be honest. Did you read all of that? Probably not. So let’s make it a more interesting text by using short and simple words, alternating our sentence length, and just getting straight to the point. You’ll get:
Philately is the study of stamps. You’d think that a philatelist is someone who collects stamps, but that isn’t always true. Some philatelists collect stamps, and some don’t. But why do people collect the little squares in the first place? Multiple reasons! Sometimes for enjoyment and relaxation. Others, however, simply want to own a large collection. In order to start a collection though, you have to know at least something about stamps.
Reads better, right?
Anyone can write naturally
Like most skills, natural writing is also something you can learn. You just have to know what to do, then practice! And don’t worry if you don’t get it right on the first try. Most people have to revise their texts at least once. Just remember to get straight to the point, use simple words, and alternate your sentences. And when you’re done, read your text out loud to see how it flows. Good luck!