Making a good impression with a well-written business email; expressing your specific needs when applying to an English Immersion Course; or just writing that killer* Facebook post to impress all your international friends - writing well in English can do wonders for both your business and personal life.
*Please see the glossary definitions for bold words
To do wonders for - (phrase) have a very beneficial effect on someone or something
Killer - (adj) (informal) very impressive or effective; excellent
Troll - (noun) (informal) someone who posts deliberately provocative comments online
Layout - (noun) the way in which text or pictures are displayed on a page
Throwback - (noun) a person or thing having the characteristics of a former time
Budding - (adj) a person showing signs of promise in a particular area
Pros and cons - (phrase) the advantages and disadvantages of something
To make something do something - (phrase) to cause someone do something
Carrots - Things you enjoy doing, but done in English
Sticks - Things you have to do, but done in English
Writing Hacks: Carrots
I know, but this is supposed to be a blog about writing, not reading! Well, research has shown a strong link between reading and writing. So the more you read in English, the better your writing skills should become. Looking for tips to read more in English? Check our blog post about it!
2) Start Commenting Online
One of the reasons that the internet has become so popular is the ability to interact with content, and a quick look at the comments section on Youtube, the latest news story, or even your best friend's Facebook post should show you how popular comments and discussions are online.
Often people associate commenting online with trolls and heated political discussion, but actually it is the perfect opportunity to improve your writing skills, and you can discuss anything you want, from tennis to brexit
www.reddit.com/ The layout may be confusing, but Reddit is essentially an online directory of forums, World News is a good place to start, but they have a forum for basically everything!
The Guardian Comment is Free - a section of this popular website just for opinion and debate
3) Get a Penpal
Penpals might seem like a throwback, but there's no need to get out the ink and paper anymore, there are now plenty of websites which offer to connect strangers interested in writing to each other either via email or by traditional mail
www.writeaprisoner.com if you'd like to get in touch with US prisoners who would like penpals
4) Write a Book - no, seriously!
Maybe you are a budding JK Rowling or Stephen King, but even if you're not, there are some great websites which encourage us all to write short novels, or even microfiction!
nanowrimo.org National Novel Writing Month is every November - this fantastic website helps you to write and complete a novel in just one month - get training!
microfictionmondaymagazine.com One of many microfiction websites, where all stories must be less than 100 words. Take a look at new stories and submit to your own!
www.calmlywriter.com An app for google Chrome which removes all the distracting features of most word processors, so all you have to do is write!
www.750words.com Another app which encourages and challenges its users to write 750 words, every day!
Writing Hacks: Sticks
Force yourself to write a diary in English each day, or post a blog every week. A great way to practise your English, share with your friends and encourage discussion - you might even make some money from it:
Wordpress, Weebly, Blogger and Blogspot all offer free hosting for blogs, you can read a summary of their pros and cons here
You can write a private diary using your old pen and paper (remember them?) or use www.writediary.com as an online app for diary writing!
6) Write your calendar, and to-do lists in English
It's difficult to make yourself write English, but one of the few ways we thought of was to change the language you use when you are scheduling events in your calendar, or making your to-do lists. This will encourage you to start thinking in English more often, which also improves your English
Our favourite to-do lists and organising apps:
www.google.com/keep/ and evernote.com/