If You Can Talk, You Can Write


In If You Can Talk, You Can Write, Joel Saltzman contends that your oral storytelling skills will make you a good writer.

I think Mr. Saltzman has something there.

jsAttracted by the promise of the compelling title, I bought this book back in the 90s at A Portrait of a Bookstore in Toluca Lake, California. To be honest, I’m not much of an oral storyteller. To go further out on the honesty limb, I’m not a good listener. I do my talking on paper/laptop and enjoy the advantage of self-editing.

I’ve taken a few creative writing classes over the years and always dreaded those exercises—you know the kind where the teacher gives the class a prompt, says “write for fifteen minutes, don’t edit.” Well, I would do just that and produce an unedited stream of consciousness (euphemism for gibberish). Believe me, I was no James Joyce or Virginia Woolf. The other students turned out eloquent pieces that could have been published right then and there. They seemed to be the talkers, the spinners of moving and captivating stories, both oral and written.

So, yes, if you can talk, and if you want to write, nothing’s stopping you.

But you can write even if you can’t talk. Trust me, I’m proof positive. Just develop good editing skills, or find someone who has them.

Joel Saltzman based If You Can Talk, You Can Write on a workshop he taught for the UCLA Writers’ Program. I never had the pleasure of attending this program as I didn’t start writing until I moved to Virginia in 1996. But, since I purchased this book in California, apparently I had writing in mind as a future endeavor. For more information, click here.

Do you agree that if you can talk, you can write? Tell me what you think.



If You Can Talk, You Can Write — 2 Comments