Writing is one of those skills that tends to intimidate English learners, and it isn’t hard to understand why: writing in your native language is hard enough, so writing in a different language is, of course, even more of a challenge.
To write well you need a good grasp of sentence structure, grammar, and a sufficient vocabulary to be able to express your ideas well. Fortunately, there are ways to practice writing that are helpful, pain-free, and sometimes even fun.
6 Activities to Learn English Writing
1. Practice every day
This may not be what you want to hear, but frequent practice is one of the best ways to improve your writing. This advice applies to writing in your native language, too. The more you write, the more it will become natural for you.
Consider getting up 30 minutes early and writing in the morning, or for about 30–60 minutes before you go to bed (this may help you sleep better, too!).
Figure out when and where you write best and make it a habit. Write about your plans for the day, or what you did that day, or find a list of writing topics on the internet. You can even write emails to friends.
2. Don’t always correct your writing
One of the ways to build comfort and confidence in writing (as well as speaking) is to write freely and not always have it corrected. Focusing on mistakes can inhibit your learning, sometimes greatly.
It’s important to have your writing corrected some or even most of the time, but writing should also be pleasurable. This helps build fluency and can help you learn English writing without the pressure of being wrong.
3. Use your own words
Read about a topic that interests you, particularly one that you already know something about, and try to re-write it in your own words. This is called paraphrasing and it’s a very important skill to have.
Paraphrasing will increase your vocabulary because you’ll probably use synonyms of words you read and you’ll likely have to look up some words from the reading, too.
4. Hop on social media to practice
You mean I can use Facebook and Instagram for homework? Yes, you can—and should! Social media sites can help your English in several ways, including your writing skills.
Change your Facebook language to English and try to make friends whose native language is English. Read their posts and captions to see real English, and then write your own status updates and comments in English.
Don’t worry about making mistakes; it’s great, low-pressure practice, and an enjoyable way to learn English writing skills.
It’s often said that reading is one of the best ways you can improve your writing. When you read, you’re observing correct models of English.
These structures may show up in your writing without you even knowing it; but if you focus on the grammar, vocabulary, and even the writer’s style, your writing will develop even more.
Read about topics you are interested in and perhaps already know something about—go online and find blogs or news articles; read children’s books; read graphic novels; you can even read recipes.
6. Use writing apps
There are several apps that can help English learners improve their writing, and even make it a little fun. Check out OmmWriter (not free), which is a program that provides you with a full, blank (distraction-free) screen, and gives you a series of calming backgrounds and soundtracks to help you relax and focus.
If you are feeling ambitious, create a blog on WordPress, where you can write about your own topics and on your own terms.