Do you struggle to write like your native-English colleagues? Maybe you are an expert in English grammar but when it comes to writing an email, you just don’t know where to start?
Imagine a world where you feel confident writing in English and even enjoy it!
Well, here are 5 proven steps that will not only help you to write like a local but will help you to find your own personal writing style:
1. Read regularly
If you want to be a good writer, reading is essential. The more you read, the more you will understand the kind of language and phrases native speakers actually use in their writing (not just what the textbooks tell you!).
The more you read, the more you will start to understand how people write, which is the first stage to help you write in an authentic way.
Tip: Aim to read something every day. This could be to read the news in English every morning or read a blog that interests you every evening. It doesn’t matter how short the text is, creating that reading habit is what’s important.
2. Find models and examples
Depending on your needs, you will have to write different kinds of texts.
Maybe you have to write emails or reports for work, or maybe you want to start writing a blog for your business. Whatever your purpose, searching for examples and models is a great place to start. A quick Google search “Examples of……….” e.g. “Examples of business emails” will give you countless models to work from. Use these as a guide for your own writing.
Tip: Notice the structure of the examples. Note down the tenses, grammatical structures, vocabulary and phrases used. These are all important features that you will need to use in your own writing.
3. Create a useful phrases bank
For each different kind of text (email/report/blog post), note down useful phrases or structures that you could use in your own writing. This isn’t copying as your content will be different but standard phrases are used in different kinds of texts e.g. “I’m writing to………” or “I look forward to speaking with you soon”, are often used at the beginning, and end of emails.
Tip: Keep your phrase bank somewhere you can easily note down new phrases and can easily review them and practise. Some people like to keep a paper notebook, I often note down phrases in the ‘Notes’ app on my phone.
4. Write, write, write
It’s not surprising that the best way to improve your writing is to write. The more you practise putting your ideas into written words, the easier it will become. Keep your phrase bank close by to help you. Over time, you will notice you prefer using some phrases more than others. This is the beginning of finding your own voice and personal writing style.
Tip: Just like for reading, try to write something every day. It will be easier to create a habit if you write something you enjoy – that could be to write a post on social media every morning or write in a diary every evening. Whatever you prefer, just write, write, write!
For any piece of writing, it is so important to proofread. Read it aloud to make sure it flows naturally. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes that you can easily correct. No matter how short the text, read it through before you send or publish to make sure you haven’t made any silly mistakes.
Tip: Get a more advanced learner or a native speaker to check your writing and point out any mistakes. Notice the kind of mistakes you make: being aware of them is always the first step to correcting them.
So, follow these steps, create these habits and you will be writing like a native speaker in no time.
If you want help or feedback on your writing skills, I run a series of business writing courses online, get in touch for more information.