English writing is an essential job skill whether it's an essay, an email, an article, or a blog. It is a supreme tool of communication as it enables us to convey our message with precision. English being a global language holds a crucial position throughout the world. It opens up various opportunities for non-native speakers to obtain better jobs and positions. Imagination and creativity come to life when we write. It is not only good for your brain but meditative too. It activates your brain cells that enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Today there are many online spoken English courses, but finding a good course which will help you in writing better are tough to find.
To write well in English, you need to follow a routine. Here are some suggestions, which can help you improve your English writing
1. Write every day.
To write better, write every day. You can start small, maybe a paragraph or a page a day. It can even be one line or a few sentences. Writing daily eliminates the fear of writing that helps us to think faster and choose the right English words. Instead of giving yourself reasons for not writing give yourself a purpose for writing. Assign a few minutes every day for writing. It helps in building great communication skills and other soft skills as well.
2. Great writers read. A lot.
All great writers have one thing in common. They read voraciously. One easy way to start a reading habit is to start reading what you like, and soon you will start liking to read almost everything. Reading and writing go hand in hand, they are inseparable. Start reading small pieces like news or short interviews in English to build a reading habit. If not news, begin with stories or comics in English as they motivate you to read more. Reading English content gives you an idea about various styles of writing and a larger word bank. Here are some free online comics you can start with. The Internet is filled with great reading material. Search what you like and start reading.
3. Improve English vocabulary.
A large vocabulary is important to write well in English. Every time you come across a new word, make sure you refer to the dictionary and find out what it means. For beginners in English, it may feel a little cumbersome to keep referring to the dictionary but be assured that it is one of the best ways to build vocabulary. Familiarize yourself with synonyms and antonyms. Remember them by making sentences. Consciously use them in conversations as well.
(For example, synonyms for happy are cheerful, overjoyed, delighted, elated)
Use them in sentences: The old man was delighted to meet his grandchildren.
Practice by replacing the commonly used word.
There are some great websites to improve vocabulary. Make use of them.
4. Check your spellings.
Writing in English can change the meaning if your spellings are not on point. For example: quiet and quite, they sound similar where quiet means silent and quite means completely or fully. Incorrect spellings may confuse the reader. So, pay attention to the usage of the right spelling. You can check the spelling of your writing easily with Grammarly
5. Follow grammar rules.
English grammar is complicated but to write well one has to know grammar rules. Using correct tenses and punctuation marks is important to bring out the right meaning of the sentence. At the same time update your grammar game from time to time as it keeps changing. You can also learn online about grammar rules and how to use them while writing.
6. Join a workshop.
For those who are looking to make a career in writing English especially long-form content like novels, non-fiction books, etc, joining a workshop for writing in English is a good idea. They focus on all the areas of writing and give a firsthand experience of writing under assistance. It will not only help discover the areas of interest but also finding out the preferred style of writing.
7. Copy English writers.
Don't know where to start, imitate your favorite writers. Copy their way of writing and eventually, you will find a style of writing for yourself. Analyze their work to know how it attracts readers.
8. Get feedback.
As a beginner, you need some feedback on your writing if you want to improve. Make your friends and family read it. Get some constructive criticism from them. But how far can they help you with that? Seeking help from a writing community is the way to go.
9. Take help from online English tutors:
Approach English tutors online. Writing in English with the help of a tutor is easier as they will give you instant feedback. Taking help from online English teachers for writing will also help you to be consistent at writing. There are some websites which have quality spoken English tutors, that can also help you with your writing skills. So look for websites which provide English speaking courses online and find yourself a teacher who writes as well.
10. Writing a journal is a must.
Never start writing without a journal. A journal keeps a record of all the experiments we have made over time. Journaling improves the way we write. One sentence a day is a powerful method of refining our ways of English writing. Therefore, keeping a diary/journal is vital for climbing up the ladder.
11. Fix a time to write.
Create a writing schedule. Choose your time of the day when you enjoy writing. Writing for beginners can be intimidating initially, to get hold of the habit you can fix a time to write. For some, it can be at night when everybody's asleep. For others, it can be early in the morning. An early lark or a night owl, choose your zen mode and march on!
12. Set up your space.
Your space of writing is a sacred space that is not only a reflection of your personality but also affects the writing you do. A clear desk and organized surroundings will help you focus and write better. Set up your writing space in a way that helps your creative juices to flow. This point holds for any other activity which requires deep thinking and some peace. Give your space some elevation before you get started.
13. Eliminate distraction.
Distraction and sources of disturbance are many. A ringing phone, chiming messages, shopping websites, or maybe some noise from the nearby area can destroy your concentration. There are studies which say that cell phones and the internet are the major cause of distraction. If possible, keep your phone on flight mode for a few hours. Not only saves time but helps to write effectively.
While there are no specific tips on writing which can be applied seamlessly across all form of English writing, there are still a few tricks of the trade for everyday writing (for your business, work, and hobby)
A. Create an outline.
Follow a simple pattern to get better at writing English. A skeleton of the topic should always be written somewhere in a diary. This outline will assist you to have an overview of the subject. It forms a train of thought that makes it easy to write. Not having an outline can become chaotic. To learn how to create an outline before writing, read this helpful article.
B. Avoid long sentences.
Avoid using unnecessary words and write in an active voice. Longer sentences usually complicate the meaning we want to convey and if you are not careful, may result in grammatical mistakes. The easiest way to avoid this is to use short sentences. Having a reasonable length for your sentence makes it manageable and meaningful. A short sentence helps in keeping a steady momentum and flow of thoughts.
C. Usepowerful titles.
Pack a punch in the words that you choose. Using strong action verbs in the title can grab attention. The English language has many such words. For example: achieve, outshine, craft, accomplish, boost. One can also use adjectives like mind-blowing, killer, free, fantastic, ultimate. All these words are easy to understand and create an impact on the reader. A powerful title can include numbers or a "how to question" these are some simple ways to make your title powerful.
D. Use a conversational tone.
To get better at English writing, use a conversational tone. Your writing should read like a conversation between two people. This makes the reader feel involved and interested. It can start with ‘and', ‘but' or 'yet'. Narrating personal experiences and stories can immediately make the reader relate to the topic.
E. Avoid using contractions.
The way English is spoken and written is different. English language when spoken uses contractions. Using contractions while writing in English might not be helpful when done formally. It is considered inappropriate in many aspects.
Examples of contractions are, haven't, wasn't, won't, can't. One should know when to use them and when not to use them.
Therefore, avoiding contractions while writing daily will help you to have flexibility in your writing style. Though the idea of avoiding contraction is outdated, sticking to formal ways is advisable.
F. Avoid repetitive words.
Reword, restructure, and rephrase but do not repeat. It's common to use repetitive English words that show unmindful writing. The more common the word, the more you repeat. Avoid restating points you have already made. Do not start your sentences with names or pronouns. Use transition words like however, moreover, therefore, etc.
G. Avoid redundant phrases.
Redundant phrases are two or more words that explain the same idea. For example: assemble together when you can say assemble. It conveys the same message. See this useful guide on how to avoid redundant phrases :
H. Linking expressions:
Linking expression is a relationship between two ideas coming together. Where two clauses are joined to make an explanatory sentence. It adds information, emphasis, comparison, and contrast to the sentence. This expression highlights the next point of the sentence. For example: undoubtedly, clearly, finally, moreover. These words provide a brief but comprehensive meaning to the views expressed.
Finally, writing is a process that demands time and organized thinking. To increase your writing efficiency, you should always read your material out loud after completing it. You might have just begun writing in English but the surprising part is you will be able to correct your own mistakes by reading it out loud.
People who want to get better at writing in English may give themselves an excuse for being a non-native English speaker. The worst thing one can do to stop their progress. Solution! Stop fearing the fall. Fear is the culprit of all our excuses. Overcoming excuses is a crucial step to becoming better at writing.
As Ernest Hemingway says, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."
We are all learners who are looking for a chance to get better at our respective crafts. Some find their way while others lose track. In all the beautiful chaos that life offers, we find that writing is an escape from reality. So, never find yourself in a state where you might want to quit writing. When you feel like quitting, that's your call you should not stop. Your threshold is more than you have ever imagined.