Speak Up!

by Joe Moore
scream Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how hard it is to talk after spending so much time in front of a computer writing thousands of words? It seems that the longer I spend writing, the more my ability to speak with others has diminished. When I’m at a social gathering or pretty much any situation where I try to communicate verbally, I tend to open my mouth and stammer or stutter as fragments of thoughts shoot out like shrapnel. Talking with others in real-time doesn’t allow me to craft my speak with first drafts, second drafts, rewrites, spell check, and thesaurus comparisons for alternative words. After all, I’ve spent hundreds of hours in a dark room with my eyes going buggy from the glow of my monitors while I labor over choosing just the right verb, avoiding passive voice, trying to catch myself from falling into the trap of using useless adverbs and flowery adjectives, cliches, over-writing, under-writing, starting my thoughts in the wrong place, line editing, plotting, split infinitives, dangling–well, you get the idea. As a writer, talking to others has become hard for me.

I find myself ordering pizza on the Internet from Papa Johns and Dominos so I don’t have to talk to the person at the store. I send faxes, emails, text messages, IM, anything to get out of talking to someone. I even email my wife in the next room.

Talking has become painful. It seems that the more I write, the worse I speak. I open my mouth and people give me a pitiful, “I hope he writes better than he talks” stare. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I spend the majority of my day in the company of imaginary people?

Is this a byproduct of writing novels or is it just me loosing my ability to communicate with my mouth? Maybe I should consider voice recognition software. I wonder if those programs can interpret verbal gibberish? So, is it just me or what?