5 Ways to Improve Your English Writing (ESL)
Do 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:
- Keeping a journal
- With a pen pal
Ready to improve your writing? Then let’s go!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Want 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!
I just started to learn English again after many give-up times. And I’m stuck in speaking, listening, and writing. So I’m trying to improve them by reading methods from your blog and learning from your videos. Thanks a lot for your effort to help us. ❤️
Hi Arthur! You can do it this time!
I am very excited to improve my reading and writing skills and because of this blog I’ve get confidence and feels comfortable about my thoughts to express on forums
That’s awesome that our blog is so useful for you, Vaibhav. If you need any help shut us an email at [email protected]