How to Become a Great Non-Native English Writer
Wondering how do you become a great non-native English writer? Read on to know how!
Learning English is hard, I admit it. It’s full of complexities and rules that may seem sensical and non-sensical simultaneously. It’s just that hard, especially for non-natives like me who live in a third-world country: the Philippines.
Here in my country, though English is indeed hard to learn, the language is actually dignified. English is the second official language of my country and many Filipinos are experts in the language.
However, as non-natives, there’s just an invisible language mastery gap that separates non-natives from natives. I don’t really know what that gap is even today, but what I know is, non-natives can still be expert English writers.
As a professional freelance writer like me, I can attest to the fact that non-natives can be great English writers. And since you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you’re a non-native who wants to get better at writing in English or you’re a follower of mine who just wants to celebrate my first published article here in Medium…
A word of advice though before you start reading down the tips I’ve prepared for you: mastering the art of English writing as a non-native is never an easy feat. It requires your grit, persistence, consistency, and curiosity. We aren’t in an advantageous position and standing compared to natives when language mastery is in talks. So you need to work hard, study smart, and just love what you do.
Here are the tips I personally do to master and get better at English writing:
Practicing writing is totally underrated, and I mean it. When I was starting out writing as a hobby many years ago, I really don’t practice my craft. The only practice I get is when I’m writing down something I wanted people to read, that’s it.
However, practicing your writing is definitely important. Now, you might think about how you can practice if there’s no one to guide you out or critique your writing skills… and I say it’s okay. Writing technologies exist today and they’re much more advanced than they were years ago, and you can treat those softwares as a starting guide to help you practice your craft.
One of the many softwares you can use is Grammarly. It’s free so you can practice without spending a dime.
But even though I advise using writing softwares if you don’t have a mentor or guide, it’s really better to find one. If you can use your English teacher or professor’s help, it would be great.
If you’d ask why, writing softwares, though significantly improved over the past years, is still largely inefficient at reading complex grammar structures which can affect the way you learn. In my professional writing experience, I’d say Grammarly, which is the main software I use, is just 70 to 80 percent accurate.
Still, practicing should be one of your habits to get better quickly.
2. Read a Lot
Reading a lot is one of my habits, and you may want to do it too. It really doesn’t matter what topic you’re reading about as long as the author or the writer is a reputable one whom you can rely on to have such impeccable grammar that your understanding and mastery of the language exponentially improves when you read their work.
A word of caution though: if you write non-fiction, it’s better to read a lot of non-fiction than fiction and vice-versa. Non-fiction and fiction have different nuances, styles, and structures you might want to take note of.
Personally, I read a lot of non-fiction. News articles, encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, science features, tech reviews, health blogs, home improvement blogs, and things like that are the ones I usually read.
3. Enroll in Courses
If you have the financial capability to afford English writing courses, I suggest you enroll in one. Though I haven’t really enrolled in an English writing course all my life, I had extensive experience writing for a school newspaper publication office so I had the guidance of my English teachers, and of course, my own professional writing experience as my personal teacher.
I only enrolled in one writing course, and it’s not really for general English writing, in particular, it’s about copywriting.
I do really recommend enrolling in courses though, but be sure to enroll in reputable courses preferably taught by natives, or even your teachers and professors if they have one. Two great places to start are Coursera and Udemy.
4. Never Give Up
Learning English is a long-term commitment, and mastering English writing requires a longer-than-long-term commitment. Like I said, mastering the art of English writing never happens in one night, and you might have to spend years of practice and learning for you to gain a superior understanding of the language.
So my most important tip for you is to never give up learning. If you do, you might miss out on some big opportunities that come with people who persistently honed their craft through the years.
Sure, mastering English writing is hard for non-natives like us, but we all know that effort and persistence pay off.
Never give up, and you will be able to master the art of English writing in due time.