The excerpt below comes from an online publication entitled The Writing Cooperative (www.writingcooperative.com). It is written by a native English speaker who has learned to speak and write in other languages; however, I think the writer offers some valuable tips and insights into how to improve your writing in English.
One Sunday afternoon last year, I thought it would be fun to try to write a poem in Spanish. I think I must have been reading too much Pablo Neruda.
I hadn’t written a line of poetry since high school, and I’d only been studying Spanish for about five years (my native language is English). Needless to say, the poem ended up being much more difficult to write than I’d originally thought.
Despite the nagging worry that a native speaker would laugh at anything I put on paper, I finally managed to finish the poem after several hours. (You can read it here.) It didn’t come close to Neruda’s poetry, of course, but to me it felt like a monumental achievement just to have written it.
You’ve probably had a similar experience if you’ve ever written in a foreign language (maybe English is that foreign language for you). It’s discouraging when you keep making mistakes, and it can be a struggle to figure out which words to use to express yourself correctly. But it’s an incredibly rewarding feeling when you keep pressing forward and finally have a finished piece of work that you can be proud of.
I believe that with practice anyone can improve their writing skills. As a writing tutor, I’ve seen my students (some who have spoken English as a second language) make incredible progress when they put in the time to write each week.
The same is true for me when I keep practicing writing in a foreign language. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have even dreamed of attempting to write a poem in Spanish. But now, after years of study, I can write not only in Spanish but also in Italian and French.
(To be honest, though, I’ve only been studying French for about two years so I still need a bit of practice before I can write poetry. 😉)
If you’re looking to improve your writing skills in a foreign language, here are eight tips that will help you make the most of your practice time:
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My name is Craig, and I've been teaching English for many years. I initially created this site for my students, but all English learners are welcome. I hope you find something helpful to you. Feel free to leave suggestions or ideas in the Comments section under any entry.