5 Ways to Improve Your English Writing (ESL)

esl-writingDo you find writing in English difficult?

Maybe you aren’t used to the Latin alphabet, or maybe you just have trouble expressing yourself in written English.

Don’t worry. Even native speakers sometimes find writing difficult.

In this article, I’m going to help you improve your writing a lot. These suggestions will help you not only improve the preciseness of your writing, but also your style and flow.

So, no matter what you want to use your writing for, keep reading, you’re in the right place!

We’ve recently written articles on the other main areas of English, too. It’s important to master all of these in order to be an exceptional English learner. Check those out here:

This article will talk about the following methods to improve your English writing:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Keeping a journal
  4. Online
  5. With a pen pal

Ready to improve your writing? Then let’s go!

Read

I know the first two points seem obvious, but some people don’t realize how important reading is for good writing.

Think of how a child learns his first language. He listens to his parents talking all the time for many months before he even opens his mouth. Just like listening is important to become better at speaking, reading is vital to become better at writing.

When learning a new language you must OBSERVE and REPEAT. Observe and repeat. Observe and repeat. Again and again. This is at the heart of learning any language. So, master this – get really, really good at it and you will be an amazing language learner.

When you read you observe someone else’s successful style—how their language flows from sentence to sentence, how they articulate their thoughts with different vocabulary, how they can paint a picture with their words. The more you read, the better you’ll be able to emulate this. Any great writer has a huge collection of books for exactly this reason.

George R.R. Martin (author of Game of Thrones) has a quote that I love about this:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

You need to collect books. Find styles that you like. And then mold your own style from these. You’ll be impressed by how much your writing improves by reading more, and it almost happens subconsciously!

If you love books, you should join Goodreads. There you can make a list of books you’re reading, you’ve read, and that you want to read and get recommendations for other books you’ll like. In addition to this, you can have discussions about books and even join book clubs. So you can read with a group and experience the book with them while practicing your English. You could even get on Skype with some like-minded people and practice your speaking!

Not sure how to start reading more in English? Check out this article. You’re already doing a great job by reading this blog.

Write

Well obviously, right?

Yes, if you want to become a better writer you should probably write. A good first step is reading, but if you just read, your writing obviously won’t improve by itself.

But what should you write?

Well, take a moment and reflect. What do you like to read?

If you enjoy blogs like this, then start your own. There are dozens of websites that let you start a free blog. And you can write about ANYTHING. People will find it and start reading it, and some will surely find what you’re writing interesting.

If you enjoy fiction and novels, then write a story. Again, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. The important thing is that you’re practicing, and you’re building your confidence.

If you enjoy prose and nonfiction, then why not research something in English and write about it? If you still go to school, you could do this for an assignment and then translate it to your native language before giving it to your teacher. Or you could share it on your blog.

A lot of people have the idea that they HAVE to speak and write perfectly. But native speakers don’t even do this. It’s only important that you communicate; you express yourself. As long as you’re doing this, make as many mistakes as necessary, and don’t feel bad about it.

Also, be sure to sign up to Lang-8 and have your writing corrected by native speakers.

Want more ideas about what to write? Comment down below and we’ll give you some advice.

In a moment I’ll show you some ways in which you can share your writing.

Keep a journal

If you don’t feel like sharing your writing with anyone yet, then a journal is a great way to make writing a daily habit.

When I lived in Spain, I knew many Americans that liked to keep a journal in which they wrote about their experiences. This was an opportunity for them to practice writing in Spanish and it’s also something that they’re going to love re-reading later in life.

There is no reason why you can’t do the same.

Grab a notebook and write about whatever you have on your mind (EVERY night before you go to sleep or EVERY morning when you wake up, so it becomes a habit).

You can write about your dreams first thing in the morning. You can write about your goals, or you can write about what you did that day.

It doesn’t matter what you write, just that you’re making a habit of writing every day.

This will probably be hard at first. You might even feel awkward, or not be sure about what to write. This is normal, and it will quickly become easier and easier.

Remember, it’s ok to make mistakes. Some people are scared that if they make errors their English will get worst, but that’s silly. It’s better that you practice and gain fluency than to do nothing and stay at the same level. Challenge yourself. And of course, if you can find someone to help you a bit, then that’s even better!

Improve your English with your favorite TV show

Online

There are millions of places online where you can write. You just need to find the right ones for you. Let me share some of the best online resources with you.

Italki

In my article on speaking, I talked about what a great resource italki is for finding people to converse with. But it’s also an awesome website for writing.

First, you can find people to exchange messages or chat with. This is a good way to practice conversational writing. But italki also has great resources if you want to try more formal writing.

You can write a notebook entry. This is a way to practice your writing and get corrections and comments from other users. You can write about pretty much whatever you want. AND you’ll be improving your English with the feedback you get.

You can also ask a question. This is great if you have a certain doubt about grammar (for example, how to use commas in English).

If you have something interesting you want to talk about you can start a discussion (you can also do this on Duolingo). And other people will share their thoughts. This is a good way to develop your ideas about a subject, and then write about it more in a notebook entry, in your blog, or elsewhere.

Online Communities

There are many communities that you can join and share your thoughts with. On the RealLife community a lot of people like to write about an experience or share something that happened to them during the day. Then, other community members respond. It’s a great way to start discussions and to make friends online, with whom you can practice your English more.

Forums

If you don’t know, a forum is basically an online discussion board. Like on italki or Duolingo, you can start a discussion and people will respond. Or you can find other interesting, popular discussions and give your opinion.

There are thousands of forums online for every topic. There are several just for English learners. Word Reference has a good one.

But the great thing is that once your English is intermediate or better (it probably is if you’re reading this), you can join a forum about ANYTHING that interests you.

Do you like…

Biking? There’s a forum for that.

Rock climbing? There’s a forum for that.

Video games? There’s a forum for that.

Books? There’s a forum for that.

Just type in X Forum into Google (“X” being whatever you’re interested in).

This is a great way for you to write about things that interest you already, and discuss them with other people. If you’re proactive, you can even make friends with native English speakers who have similar interests as you.

If you want to do some creative writing and share your stories with people, then check out this forum to get feedback.

With forums, the possibilities are endless.

Get a Pen Pal

A pen pal is basically someone with whom you exchange letters. There are several websites to do this online. You can either exchange letters online, or via snail mail (regular postal service; called snail because it’s slow).

Snail mail can be fun because it allows you to hold a letter in your hand. It’s more old-fashioned. And it’s always exciting to get something in the mail from a far away place.

Two good websites for pen pals are PenPal World and InterPals.

And if you want a snail mail pen pal, check out Reddit.

Writing letters is a great way to practice formal writing habits and to make friends from around the world. Try it out!

Take Action!

writing in englishWant to improve your writing? Then START right now.

In the comments below I want you to tell me:

1) Why you want to improve your writing, and

2) How you’re going to start improving your writing today:

Are you going to get a Pen Pal? Join an interesting forum? Become active in an English speaking community? Start writing short stories or in your journal?

Whatever you choose, just write. A lot. In a few weeks you’ll be amazed by how much better your writing flows and your style has improved. By becoming more confident about your writing, you can become more open to feedback, which is going to help you improve your structure and grammar (and this will show when you speak, too.)

But don’t get too hung up about perfect grammar. Make writing a habit first, and then focus on improving your grammar and structure later.

Comment below now!

Back to Top Articles

  • uttam says:

    I’m Uttam. I want to improve my skills in which Writing and Reading are also add on. I am a book reader and want to read individual books of great writers, philosophers, poets, scientists and, etc. I want to express myself in front of the earth. I want to put on my ideas out of my friends, society, family and, etc. That is why I want.

  • Anna says:

    Practicing my writing I started from “30 day challenge”. I found it in Internet. I was written one facts ore same sentence about me every day. There are a difference topics. I highly recommend start with it.

    • Agnieszka Tkacz says:

      That’s an awesome method!

  • angel says:

    I have learned English for 10 years. I’m 17 years old now, but I really do realize that my English doesn’t good enough. Well, I’ll go to college next year and I know when I go to colloge, the books are in English. If I still bad in English, then it’ll be hard for me to understand those materials. So, I decide to improve my English in any skill that i have to. Well, I really do like your Learn English with TV series youtube channel. It really helps me to improve my knowledge more about English, include vocabulary and anything that i have never ever know before. If this comment sounds weird, I’m sorry because THIS IS MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WRITING COMMENT IN ENGLISH :). But, I enjoy it. Thanks for your recommendations above. I’ll try it today. Once again, thank youuu…. :)))

    • Agnieszka Tkacz says:

      This is a fantastic comment, and it doesn’t sound weird at all! We’re happy that you took this frist awesome step. I wish you all the best with your studies! Thank you very much for your support!

  • Juan jose says:

    Awesome one tool that I recommend to write is grammarly.com. It checks your writing out to look for mistakes

  • Arina Islam Orny says:

    Thank you so much for your helpful suggestion. My dream is to go abroad for my higher studies that’s why learning English effectively is very important to me and it will also be very necessary for my job life. I want to improve my writing skills by writing in my Journal. Once again thanks for supporting us in this great way.

    • Agnieszka Tkacz says:

      Writing a journal is an effective way to improve writing, Arina. Good idea!

  • Pavan says:

    I like to improve my writing skills to be a better reader, learner and be good at conveying my thoughts with structure. I have started reading books already but that’s not regular. I will make it as a daily routine and also start writing everyday.

  • Carlos Guerrero says:

    Thanks for this post it helped me a lot giving me some advice to how writing and reading, thanks for everything

  • Nisarg Patel says:

    I want to improve my writing. There are many reasons. First, I need to improve for my Academic purpose. Second, In professional field writing skill plays crucial role. Like, to write email to manager or to do reporting. I believe that if I work on my writing skill then it will help me not even my personal life but also it will help me in professional life.
    Well, I am going to read more books for improving my writing skills.

  • Kay says:

    Thank you for this amazing blog, It makes sense and I will try to follow the tip above one by one.
    I am thinking to write you another comment a few weeks later to see how my writing skills improved following your tips.

    Best!

  • tenzin says:

    I really moved by your blog. It allows me to go deeper into each step you mentioned. I am gonna follow ur guides throughout. thank you so much

  • My Top Five:
    1) Super Metroid
    2) Final Fantasy VI
    3) Zelda Link to the Past
    4) Donkey Kong Country
    5) Yoshi’s Island.
    I’m sorry but the arcade ports do not count, no matter how good games they were.
    Street Alpha 2, in SNES was a technical marvel and nevertheless it was not a SNES game of its own, but a home conversion of an arcade game.

    • Ksenia Aktas says:

      Thanks for your comment, Harold! Were those games helpful in your English learning?

  • An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I think that you should write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but usually folks don’t speak about such topics. To the next! Kind regards

  • Lara says:

    Hi, Ethan, I’d like to be more confident and don’t fell “afraid” in front of the necessity of writing something.
    I’ve really appreciated the idea about keeping a journal. I’ll suerly try!
    Tanks!

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      That’s awesome, Lara! Let us know how it goes!

  • Very Good information

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Aww yeah! Thank you for your comment!

  • Lokesh Singh says:

    1. I want to improve my writing, cause I am a software engineer, and to write professional emails I want to improve my writing skills.

    2. I will start reading a book, from today onwards and start writing a journal

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      That’s awesome, Lokesh! Have a wonderful journey with the book!

  • Darya BY says:

    great job! extremelly helpful and useful list! i am glad to find it and save all recommends

    i am a little bit scared to write thoughts and opinion because of making mistakes, but Ethan is the best teacher ever! i hope i do! i can improve my writing and vocabulary

    and i love your lessons with Friends so much and see them every day , making notes and repeating all new knowledges. Studying while you are laughing – good idea!

    nowadays i have real B2 and not afraid

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Aww yeah! Keep it up, Darya! We are happy about your success!

  • Almost every non-native English Language learners find it difficult in Writing skills. This blog comes out with the perfect tips to solve the problem and improve your writing skills.

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Thank you!

  • Solin says:

    Thanks so much for helping me to improve my writing, I will done all of these tips you are amazing thanks a lot 🤍

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      We are happy to help, Solin!