If I had to be frank, writing is one of the easier components of English to learn – and is widely supportive to developing competencies in the other components. Writing facilitates vocabulary development, grammar practice, and application of phrases. Of course, I may be biased – I always learn best writing things down, so the extent to which others find writing easier to learn will be on a case-by-case basis.
None the less, writing is very important to get down when it comes to learning English; and not just because most proficiency test have an unbalanced emphasis towards the component. Writing is going to come up in your everyday life – through emails, messages, reports, academics, and in creative activities. Thus, it’s important to find ways to practice your writing outside of a classroom environment. Let’s look at a few today:
Now, journalling may seem like a bit of a hassle, but it’s one of the most useful ways to practice your daily vocabulary. Chronicling your activities will employ common terms and phrases that will gradually become more familiar the more you employ them, while also pushing you to learn new vocabulary to express your opinions and experiences. Furthermore, journalling is a great way to get your thoughts out of your own head, and is quite therapeutic for a lot of people.
- Letter writing
Letter writing (or email writing if you’d prefer) is a great way to improve your colloquial and professional English. Whether sending actual emails/letters or just generating templates or drafts, letter writing allows for a great way to practice paragraph linking sentences, grammar, and vocabulary. It has the benefit of improving common vocabulary usage for personal communication, and professional vocabulary for work or commercial purposes. It also allows you to practice how best to format a letter/email, primarily in how to write greetings and sign-offs:
- Dear Mr. XYZ
- To whom it may concern:
- Yours Faithfully,
- Yours Sincerely
How you start a letter and how you end a later is going to be based on the context and purpose of the letter. You’re unlikely to be overly formal when writing a letter to your mother, but it’s definitely not advised to sign off with “Lots of Love” when messaging your boss.
Everybody has opinions, and what better way to express those opinions than through reviews! Whether you’re writing about a specific restaurant, movie, TV show, or even a shop, a review can be a great way to practice descriptive and informative writing. It can help to develop skills in reasoning, and how you expand upon your points of concern or praise.
Reviews also have the wonderful utility of providing information to other people, and can be used as a reference for businesses in how to improve their services and product offerings.
Finally, we have fanfiction. Now, I may lose some of you here – either because you know exactly what I’m talking about, or you have no idea.
Fanfiction – for those not in the know – are fictional stories written by fans of a piece of media. Whether it be based on books, such as Harry Potter, movies, like Iron man, or TV shows, for instance Supernatural, Fanfiction can be found for nearly every form of media. It’s a way for fans of a work to expand upon the existing media, or use it to develop new stories within that fictional world.
Now, fanfiction hasn’t exactly gotten the best reputation by mainstream media – it’s typically seen as something done by teenagers or children, and not widely respected. However, that’s a rather narrow view to have. A lot of adults write fanfiction, and many professionally published authors have started out writing fanfiction, and continue to do so till this day (a notable example being Neil Gaiman, author of Good Omens and American Gods, among other excellent works).
Fanfiction is an amazing way to improve your writing skills, as 1. It is something you are invested in as it relates to a piece of media you already enjoy, and 2. It’s very low stakes. Nobody really cares if your work is bad, and most of the time you can find amazing constructive criticism if you chose to publish on fanfiction/archival sites. Of course, you don’t need to ever publish your work, and writing fanfiction privately is a great way to practice narrative writing, punctuation, dialogue, and vocabulary. Furthermore, if you are interested in some of the sites that host fanfiction, you have an almost limitless source of media for reading practice.
I hope some of these suggestions will be helpful in motivating you to practice your writing. There are many other methods as well that you may be more comfortable with, but these are a few of the most notable! Happy sailing on the seas of literary production!