In this lesson we have got some very practical tips to help you improve your English writing skills, so stay tuned!
Before go anywhere in this lesson, let’s just all agree that the skill of writing in English is an incredibly valuable one to have at any level. With our words we can persuade people, we can convince people and we can entertain people. Being able to write well, it really is a superpower, whether you’re writing in your native language, or in English or in any other language
We are going to focus on your your English writing skills today but you can apply the tips that we teach in this lesson to any language that you’re learning and even your own native language.
What are benefits of having good English writing skills?
Your English writing skills are obviously important if you’re sitting an exam. Are you studying English for an exam like IELTS or TOEFL? They have written sections in their exam.
So writing skills are important for exams but let’s look further than that right now. Being able to write well in English is a skill that can really make you stand out when you’re looking for a job. Your writing is the first thing that your future employer sees about you when you submit your resume. And you write a cover letter, your well-written professional emails that you send it in will display the English skills that your employer is looking for.
For those of you who plan to study abroad, maybe you have to write your application in English. Many scholarships or competitions that you might want to enter will ask you to write a creative essay when you apply or at least answer some open-ended questions in English.
Do any of these things sound like something you’re dealing with at the moment? Which one is something that makes you worry about your English writing skills?
And even if none of these things specifically apply to you, practicing your writing skills is a surefire way to improve your English level.
So we hope that you’re ready for a mini writing workshop today because that’s what we’re going to do right now.
7 Tips To Write Better In English
1, Start small
Now you don’t need to write a novel every time you practise. This needs to be something that you can achieve every day. So keep things simple and start small. Why? Because we want you to bring your English writing practice into your day every day.
If that sounds daunting or boring, we bet you actually do it more than you think already. Between the text messages that you write to friends or emails that you send to colleagues at work or comments that you write on Instagram. You probably spend more time writing in English each day than you realise. And all of these things do actually count as forms of writing. Writing doesn’t mean that you sit down and write ten pages or even one page. So we saying that your English writing practice can mean all sorts of different things.
You could write a Facebook post every day in English. Set yourself a challenge or at the end of a work day, just hang around for an extra ten minutes to translate one of the emails that you’ve written that day into English. Whether you actually send it to anyone or not, it doesn’t really matter.
We also want to introduce the idea of a daily journal to you, because this can be a really fantastic way to get daily practice. Just write down what you’re grateful for, or something new that you learned that day, or even just write about what you did. No one else ever has to read it ever. It’s not about publishing this text, it’s just for you. Don’t underestimate the power of writing a few short sentences every day. It’s an excellent habit to get into.
Accuracy is important. In some areas of English like listening or speaking, you can get away with a little less accuracy but writing is not really like this. And that is thought of as one of the most daunting things about writing.
Once you put your words on paper, it’s recorded in history. Everyone can see what you’ve done. Especially if you post it on social media. It’s where everyone can judge you because your mistakes are very visible. Therefore, your grammar choice and your word choices are really important.
Finding someone to review what you’ve written and show you how you can improve it is obviously really helpful. And that can be part of your learning experience. It’s not just about removing the errors, but it’s about you learning how to correct your work and understand the mistakes that you’ve made so that you don’t do it again.
So if you can, taking an online course or working with a writing expert or a teacher would be a really awesome step, if you can possibly do it.
But if that’s not an option for you, then you must take the time to review your own writing, including all the questions, the grammar, and the word choices that you’ve made. Do some research to try and confirm the choices that you’ve made.
Why would we tell you to read an article about becoming a better writer? Because reading is one of the best ways to get used to different writing structures and formats that you can then use in your own writing.
Pay attention to other writers. What kind of tone do they use in their language? How do they structure their writing? Notice the vocabulary that they’ve chosen. Is it quite formal or is it informal in that type of writing?
You could even practice imitating your favourite writers or bloggers. But be careful, imitate not copy. You need to use your own words and ideas. But there is nothing stopping you from writing your own material while using another piece of writing as a structural guide to help you.
4, Learn to pre-write
This is a good habit to get into when you’re starting your own daily writing practice. It’s one of the best things about writing. You get time to think about what you want to say and plan it out. And this preparation is what’s going to help you improve the quality of your writing overall.
The skill is especially important to develop if you are taking a test that has a writing section. So if you need to write anything long like an essay or a report or something like that, this is a super skill to develop.
And there are lots of different ways that you can plan. You might complete an outline. Or if that feels a little rigid, then maybe a mind map, or a web, vocabulary web. Maybe you just want to write down a list of important vocabulary words or thoughts that you’d like to include.
No matter what you do, just spend a few minutes thinking and planning about that before you jump into writing. Your writing will be more organised, you won’t forget to say something important, and even better, you won’t have as much editing to do later on.
5, Think in English
Think in the language that you’re writing in. So if you’re writing in English, think and plan in English, not in your native language.
There are so many grammar structures and words that don’t translate well from one language to another. For example, in Spanish, verbs don’t change whether the sentence is a question or a statement. But those sentence structures are very different in English. So, if you’re thinking in your own language first, then trying to translate, you’re much more likely to end up making mistakes or errors.
Therefore, try to switch your brain over. Think of each word or phrase that you want to write in English. This part is not easy. It takes practise but the more you practise, the more you do it, the easier it will become. So it’s really good training for you.
6, Make mistakes
Make mistakes and be cool with it. If you get caught up trying to write perfectly on your first try, you’re really not going to get very far. Plus mistakes are some of the best ways to learn and improve in the future.
The beauty of writing is that it’s not set in stone (no longer changeable). It’s not like when you say something out loud and everyone hears you and you can’t take that sentence back. Take advantage of the fact that you can write it, you can read it again, check it, erase it, edit it, and rewrite it.
If you aren’t sure of the exact phrasing or grammar rule, investigate! There are so many options to help you correct your mistakes. Obviously, you can ask a teacher or a native speaker. If you can, you could also ask a friend to read your writing and give you some advice. If you’re on your own, or you’re feeling a little shy or a little nervous about sharing your writing, then use Grammarly or a tool like it.
It’s a really fantastic tool that’s going to help you see the errors that you’re making and give you suggestions to improve them. They are not only spelling errors but also grammatical errors as well, which is why this tool is so useful for you. Of course, computers aren’t always right, but they do offer you some great tools for practising when you’re doing it on your own.
So don’t be afraid of making mistakes, the more mistakes that you make, the more opportunities you have to improve your writing. This is the mindset that you’ve got to get into.
7, Find a writing partner.
This is a last-but-not-least tip for every English learner. Finding a writing partner is probably the best thing that you can do to improve your writing skills.
A writing partner isn’t a teacher. And they’re not just a friend who reads your writing for you. Your writing partner should be someone who is also trying to improve their writing. Someone who you can share with and rely on. You both agree to each write something. You can decide on a specific topic or a specific length or just leave it open but choose a date to finish the writing. Then exchange. Notice what you like about each other’s writing and make sure you share that but then also help each other to find and correct mistakes.
There are multiple reasons why this is a good habit to get into. Having a writing partner is going to keep you on track, it’s going to force you to stick to a schedule, and you’ll be more likely to follow through with your writing practice if you know that someone is there waiting for you to swap and exchange.
Besides, working with someone else, who’s at a similar level as you are can also seem a little less scary to take risks and make mistakes in your writing. They’re not going to judge you for making mistakes because they’ve probably made mistakes in their own writing too and the purpose is to find them and help each other.
And finally, correcting someone else’s work, or at least trying to correct it is an insanely good way to practise your own English skills. You’ve got to read their writing and then think whether those grammar rules are correct or not. Maybe you have to research to find out if that collocation works or not. Teaching someone what you know yourself is a really good way to help you improve. So you could do this with a friend who’s at a similar level to you.
You could also use the comments under this article to try and find a writing partner. And for something a little different, there are loads of pen pal exchanges online where you could write to someone who’s actually learning your own native language, so then you can share and exchange your writing and get them to correct it for you.
It is the end of our lesson today! So for your first writing task, your first writing homework task, we want you to tell us in the comments, which tip was most useful for you and how are you going to put it into practice this week? In order to get further explanation and practice your listening skills also, watch the video below. Thank you for reading and see you in the next writing!