How To Improve Your English Writing Skills | Tips For Intermediate And Advanced English Learners
Hey guys, what’s up? In this article we are gonna talk about how to improve your writing in English. First there’s four things that you have to do.
- Ask questions
- Do research
- Practice and
- Get feedback
That’s it, but we’re gonna break that down and talk about what each of those steps means. First, ask questions… this is the most crucial part to improving your writing. You have to know what good writing is. So start by asking questions:
- what are you writing?
- What are you trying to improve?
- What’s lacking?
- Who is your audience?
- What are the expectations of the people that are gonna be reading your writing?
Because the truth is, that there’s so many different writing styles that you could use depending on what you’re writing. If you’re writing a business email to a client, your writing and the structure of your writing is gonna be a lot different than if you’re writing a post on Facebook or if you’re writing an academic essay or if you’re writing a resume. So really you have to start by asking these questions.
- What are you writing?
- Who are you writing it to?
- What are their expectations?
Then it’s time to do research. Go on Google, go on YouTube and start asking your questions. Read blog posts and articles, look for the answers. You can even read entire books on writing, Okay. But what I want to suggest here is that you don’t go looking for material on how to become a better writer from English teachers. Okay? Here’s the reason why. English teachers teach English. They teach vocabulary. They teach phrasal verbs. They teach grammar. But they are not experts on writing. If you want to make a blog in English, for example, an English teacher can’t show you and tell you how to do that successfully. You have to go to the people who have already made blogs in English and look up…
- how do they structure their blog posts? How do they structure their sentences?
- How do they keep the readers engaged?
- What kind of writing style do they use?
- How do they incorporate humor?
You have to learn writing from people who already do that kind of writing. If you want to learn how to write a resume, you have to look up articles in English that are actually for English speakers. Okay? Pretend you’re already a fluent, confident… you’re an English speaker, even if you’re not totally there yet. Start looking up material that was written for English speakers because those articles, those materials, those books are going to have the best information. Now here’s a tip for you guys. Writers, they don’t study English. Great writers, people that have written books, people that run websites, and write blog posts (there’s obviously so many different kinds of writing you could do), but writers don’t study English. They study writing. That’s very important.
The best writers in the world, they don’t study grammar. They don’t study vocabulary, they study more writing from other great writers. So if you want to improve your writing, you have to study good writing. You have to analyze it, you have to break it down. You can’t just get tips all the time, because sometimes even if you get a tip and you know, someone says… “hey, your sentences need to be clear.” That’s a great tip… but what does that mean!? What is a clear sentence? What is a sentence that’s convoluted and not clear? You actually have to read good writing because some things won’t make sense until you see it and until you can break it down in your mind and analyse it and then go “ohhhhh, that’s what it is! That’s how you do it! That’s how you transition from one sentence to the next. That’s how you transition from one paragraph to the next.” You have to be a researcher, you have to ask questions, you have to research, then you have to analyze. And then the next step is practice. You won’t improve your writing if you don’t practice. But now, at least, you know what you’re writing, you know who your audience is, you know what their expectations are, and you’ve researched what good writing is, you’ve looked at examples, you’ve broken them down, you’ve analyzed them, so now it’s time for you to implement everything that you’ve learned. And you want to basically make your writing look, sound, and feel like the writing that you’ve been studying. Ok? So practice, practice, practice. And then you need feedback. You don’t just want to ask your friends, though. You don’t just want to ask some random English speaker that you know, that you work with. You want to ask somebody who understands the type of writing that you’re doing. So, let’s say you are preparing for the IELTS exam. You can’t just go to anybody, even if they’re a native English speaker, and say “hey, what do you think of this writing?”
Because honestly, writing is a skill that people work to develop. And just because someone is a native English speaker, for example, doesn’t mean that they understand how to write, and who your audience is, what’s expected etcetera, so you need to get feedback from someone who knows what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what the goal is, what the expectations are. Because then they can say “oh, look, this is a professional email that you’re trying to write, and this phrase that you used here… this isn’t very professional and this is why.” Ok? If you talk with someone who doesn’t understand how to write a professional email, again, even if they are a native English speaker, the feedback you get is gonna be irrelevant. They’re not gonna know what they’re talking about. So you have to get feedback from a source who knows.
Now, sometimes this means you might have to pay for it. You might have to go to a website where you can hire an editor, or somebody to go through and give you feedback. Or, hopefully, you’re lucky enough to have a friend who can help you with this. Or maybe you have to join a program where you practice your writing. I have no idea. But that is basically how you do it. That’s how anyone and everyone improves their writing. That’s how I’ve improved my writing. First, by figuring out what am I writing, who’s my audience, asking those questions, doing the research, practicing, and then getting feedback. That’s the formula. That’s how you do it. Just remember, that there’s so many different types of writing out there, so you need to pay attention. There’s different ways of structuring writing depending on what you’re writing. There’s different tones that you can use in your writing. And a tone is created by your word choices and by your sentence structures. So as I was saying, there’s different tones you could use depending on who you’re writing to, what effect you want your writing to have on the audience. So, you know, this is not a simple process. This is not something that happens overnight. But as long as you are being strategic about it, you can improve your writing reletively quickly. You just have to know what good writing is, and what are you writing, and who is your audience, and then do the research. Figure out what you have to do to get to that end goal. Look, grammar is a part of it, it’s obvious. You need to understand grammar. But guess what, grammar is not writing. Grammar is grammar. And sometimes you can have good writing where the grammar is wrong and that’s part of the writing style. Sometimes that happens. In the famous book, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, that’s one of the style elements of that book. In the dialogue where the people talk with each other, the grammar is totally messed up because it reflects how people would talk in that time period, in that era, etcetera. So, that’s a kind of random example. But, you get the point, right? That writing is different everywhere depending on what you’re doing. So hopefully this video was helpful. For those of you who know nothing about writing, I know these tips are really gonna help you. For those of you who kind of already know a lot about writing, maybe this stuff was obvious to you, and that’s good… it should be obvious. Anyways, if you guys want 5 ways that you can improve your writing in less than 10 minutes, and these are really specific examples, then you can go ahead and download a free audio class that I made for you. I will link it in the description.
And it’s basically the basics of good writing… do this, don’t do that. That’s what I teach you guys in that audio class.