Writing can be difficult – even in your native language – and can be especially challenging when writing in another language. But practice makes perfect! Regardless of the situation – writing casual emails or messages in English to friends, communicating for business in English, or completing a school assignment in English – there are simple ways to help you improve your writing.
1. Read in English
That’s right: Reading in English will help your writing in English! When written language is modeled, it makes things like structure, grammar, and punctuation easier to “take in” or internalize. If you are worried you won’t understand an entire novel or book in English, try starting with simpler books for younger readers and gradually reading more difficult texts.
2. Write every day
Set a goal for yourself that is challenging but attainable. Maybe that’s just five sentences, or maybe it’s five paragraphs, or even five pages (you can do it!) – but make sure it’s a goal that isn’t so difficult you’ll feel overwhelmed. Not sure what to write about? Start with simple sentences explaining what you did during the day. If that’s too simple, write about your feelings or opinions about what you did. Need more challenge? Write about what you plan on doing tomorrow or next week, or want to do in 10 years.
3. Buy a special notebook
Keep your practice writing all in the same notebook – like a journal or diary. In addition to being a symbol of how important the writing is to you, over time, it will be a great way to see your improvement!
4. Rewrite your past writing
Rewriting your past writing is a great way to not only correct your mistakes, but expand your vocabulary by looking for synonyms for the words you originally used. Try a strategy such as focusing on finding synonyms for nouns one week, verbs the next, adjectives and adverbs after that, and so on.
5. Buddy up
Find a friend (online or offline) that you can occasionally trade writing with. Maybe it is someone in your class you can trade assignments with, or a work colleague you can practice exchanging emails with, or an online acquaintance who can give you feedback. A second pair of eyes on your writing can help you see errors that you missed!