One of the big questions that English students always have for their teacher is “How do I improve my writing?” It’s a skill that, for some, doesn’t come naturally and takes a long time, and a lot of work, to improve. Here are a few tips, from a professional teacher, on how to take your writing to the next level.
Don’t Try to Write in English the Way You Write in Your Native Language
Patience is the key to learning. It’s hard to be patient, though, when you’re learning a new language. In your native language you can say anything you want; you can express yourself like an adult, but when you try to write in English you feel like a child – you’re missing important vocabulary, or you don’t know the correct grammar forms. Some people try to push against this feeling and write in English the way they write in their native language. The results, usually, aren’t good. It’s best to stay inside of your limits. If you know a little English, use that in your writing, don’t try to write a philosophical essay. Keep your writing basic, and focus on fundamental things like word order (subject – verb – object). As your level of English improves, then you can challenge yourself with more difficult types of writing. Walk before you run.
Use What You Learn
When you learn new grammar or vocabulary, set a small, appropriate writing task for yourself with your new knowledge. For example, if you’ve just learnt how to use the present simple, write a short blog post about your daily or weekly routines. If you’ve just studied past tenses, write a story about your childhood or a review of a hotel you stayed in while on holiday. Putting new information to practical use is the best way to make sure it stays in your mind, and gives you realistic writing practice.
Get Inspiration From All Around You
When you try a new skill, it’s always good to have models and examples. You can’t just study English, you need to live English. The same is true for writing. To improve your writing you need to read inspiring examples of good writing, and listen to song lyrics that make you want to pick up a pen and write. Check out our blog on “6 Books You Can Read to Improve Your English” for some inspiration, or if you’re not ready for full books in English you can try Graded Readers, real novels whose language is reduced to your level (A2, B1, etc.) Maybe you’re not a big fan of reading. In that case, you can still find good writing models in songs. Song lyrics and poetry are types of writing, too. Pay attention to how these writers form sentences, how they express themselves and try to copy that style.
So there you have it. Three pieces of advice you can put to use straight away to improve your writing. Try them out now and watch your writing improve!