Blogging in English: Blogging Tips for Non-Native English Speakers | Rebecca Livermore | Skillshare

Blogging in English: Blogging Tips for Non-Native English Speakers

Rebecca Livermore, Microsoft Office for Creatives

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7 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Intro

      1:14
    • 2. Immerse Yourself in English

      3:45
    • 3. Gradually Build Your Writing Skills

      7:57
    • 4. Practice Makes Perfect

      3:02
    • 5. Journey Vs. Destination

      2:22
    • 6. Blog in Your Native Language

      1:48
    • 7. Your Project

      0:54

About This Class

So, you want to start a blog, and you want to blog in English. Good choice! But what if English is not your native language? If that describes you, this class is for you! 

If you’re a non-native English speaker, you face certain challenges with blogging in English.  

That’s the bad news. The good news is that many other non-native English speakers just like you have done this successfully, and you can, too!  

In this class you’ll learn: 

  • Multiple ways to immerse yourself in the English language – even if you live in a country with very few native English speakers 
  • How to gradually build your English writing skills 
  • How to avoid people or deal with people who may criticize your writing 
  • Free English grammar tools you can use to help you catch mistakes in your writing before you publish it 
  • The importance of focusing on the writing journey 
  • And finally, reasons why you might want to consider blogging in your native language. 

So what are we waiting for? If you’re ready to improve your English writing skills, it’s time to get started!  

Transcripts

1. Intro: So you want to start a blawg and you want to block an English great choice. But what if English is not your native language? If that describes you, this class is for you. If you're a non native English speaker, you face certain challenges with blogging and English. That's the bad news. The good news is that many other non native English speakers, just like you have done this successfully and you can, too. And that's what I get into in this class. In this class, you'll learn multiple ways to immerse yourself in the English language, even if you live in a country with very few native English speakers. How to gradually build your English writing skills, how to avoid or deal with people who may criticize your writing free English grammar tools you can use to help you catch mistakes in your writing before you publish it. The importance of focusing on the writing journey and finally, reasons why you might want to consider blogging in your native language. So what are we waiting for? If you're ready to improve your English writing skills, it's time to get started 2. Immerse Yourself in English: the first way to become proficient in any language, including English, is to immerse yourself in the language. In this video, I'll get into four ways to go about that. Number one. Become an avid reader when it comes to improving your English writing skills. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in English is to become an avid reader. First, I recommend that you focus on articles and books that pertain to your filled. This will help you learn vocabulary and see how others phrase things. Listen while you read. Now it's true that reading won't help your English pronunciation. But when it comes to writing, your pronunciation doesn't matter. Having said that, if you read along while a book or blond post is being read to you, you'll improve both your reading and pronunciation skills at the same time. There are two ways to listen and read it once First. If you have a kindle device such as a Kindle fire, you can have the Kindle books you purchased read to you and at the same time, follow along in the Kindle book. Another option is using the site. Natural Reader, the free version of the software has a robotic sounding voice, but the pronunciation is generally decent. You can upload or copy and paste text into the program. For example, if you find a block post you want to read, copy and paste the text into natural reader. You can then read along as a text is read out loud to you number to hang out with native English speakers. The next way to immerse yourself in the English language is to spend a lot of time with native English speakers. I recommend native English speakers when at all possible, so you're less likely to pick up non native accents now. This may be challenging if you live in a country where English is international language. If that's the case, see if you can connect with English speaking expats in your country. You can also connect with native English speakers online and chat with them using services . Such a Skype, By the way, I know that it's far more comfortable to spend time with people who speak your language. But mastering English will only happen if you push yourself outside your comfort zone. Here's an example. A few weeks ago at church, I met a couple that just moved to the U. S. From El Salvador. They have an advantage because they already speak some English. But the wife, in particular, doesn't feel very confident in our English speaking abilities. The interesting thing is, immediately after Archer service in the same building, there's a Spanish language service. They would no doubt be more comfortable attending the Spanish service and would also understand more of the sermon. And yet, coming to the English service week after week is a far superior way to improve their English skills. Number three Watch a lot of English TV. The third way to immerse yourself in the English language is to watch a lot of English TV and listen to English radio programs. And podcast TV is best because you can see what is going on and that can help your comprehension level. As your English skills progressed, you could move into listening to podcasts while you take walks, do housework, and so on. Number four right every day. Next, I want to encourage you to write in English every day. Now, when I say to write every day, I don't mean that you need to publish your content every day you can try free riding, which is simply writing without judgment. Since this type of writing isn't for publication, it doesn't have to be perfect. The main purpose of free writing is to practice writing without pressure. In the next video, we're going to talk about some additional ways to improve your English. 3. Gradually Build Your Writing Skills: in this video, we'll get into how to gradually build your English writing skills Now. In the previous video, I provided ideas for immersing yourself in English, and that is a good approach, and it's something you should continue doing. Having said that once you have an overall handle on fluency, you'll want to work on improving your grammar. I recommend that you focus on gradually improving your skills. I shared about this concept in my course on how to transition into writing full time. I am going to share just a small snippet of that fear, and then I'll get into some additional implementation ideas on approach that I like to use . This similar to the Japanese concept of caisson. Kaizen is a word that means to change for the better. It's actual meaning doesn't include the idea of gradual improvement. But the Toyota corporation began using the word in a way that encouraged all employees to make continual, gradual improvements. Applying the concept of kaizen in this way was so successful for Toyota that it spread to the rest of the business world. This is a concept you can apply to your writing and to building a business or any other aspect of your life. What I like to do is focus on improving one small thing at a time. For instance, let's say that one of your problems as a writer is that you tend to use passive voice in your writing as you edit your work, look for passive voice and change it to active. Do that consistently until writing an active voice becomes more automatic. You could also work on improving your use of commas or improve your stories telling skills and so on. The key thing is to focus on gradually improving your skills as a writer. Next, I want to encourage you to get some input from some friends or colleagues that are native English speakers. The best bet is to get help from fellow writers, since it could be demoralizing to have someone point out every single mistake asked them to determine what they see as your biggest need for improvement. For instance, one of the things I've noticed in the writing of some non native English speakers is improper capitalization. So if someone came to me and ask for feedback, I might point out that one issue and highlighted each time I see the issue in their writing . Ideally, the person giving you feedback will also explain basic capitalization rules, so you'll know how to improve. However, if they don't, that's when it's time to take courses or refer to English handbooks to better understand the rules. Obviously, you want to pick someone who will be supportive of you and point out your shortcomings in a positive and encouraging way, so choose wisely. If you do find that the person you select turns out to be harsh and condescending, be polite and thank them for their help. But don't ask for help from them again. Seek out someone new for input the next time. Once you have identified areas that need improvement, plan to take some courses or read books that help in those specific areas. I plan to create some grammar courses in the future, but in the meantime, be sure to check out. The resource is pdf that you'll find in the project area. In it, I list several courses here on skill share that you'll find helpful. I'll also give you suggestions for books to check out. Now let's talk about tools. Thankfully, there are some grammar tools available. I recommend adding these in conjunction with your grammar studies. I say that because grammar tools aren't always right, and you need to have a solid enough English grammar foundation to get the most out of them . For instance, the grammar tool may point out improper comma use. And if you've been studying comma usage, is the suggestions the tool makes will make more sense to you, and you'll know whether or not to apply them. With that out of the way here, some tools for you to consider. First, I recommend starting with the suggestions in Microsoft Word. It isn't always as robust as some of the other options. However, If you write inward, you already have access to this tool. So start there. Here's a quick video tutorial on how to use this feature in word 2016. Now note that unless you have an office 3 65 subscription, you may not have this feature available to you Now. One thing to be aware of is that there certain features that are available in the office. 3 65 if you haven't office 3 65 subscription and they're not always available. If you have like you just purchased word outright. So if you don't have an office 3 65 subscription and this is missing, that's probably why. All right, having said that, here's what you dio you go to file. And then, at least in the current version, down at the bottom. There's options. Click on that, and you'll notice that one of the options is proofing quick on that and then down here, under writing style, you have a couple of different options. You can choose just grammar, or you can select grammar and refinements. And then you can click on the settings and select what you want to focus on. All right now you'll notice there's tons of things that are selected here, just tons and tons of them, and you may not want to check all of those. What I actually recommend is that if you have one thing that you're working on, you check just that and really hone in on that. So, for example, let's say you struggle with passive voice, select passive voice and uncheck everything else. And then you just click on OK, The next two tools take the options and word up a notch there, Graham early and pro writing aid links for both of them are in the resource is pdf, so be sure to check it out. Both of them have free in premium options. You can start with the free option if you want to check it out. But if you find it helpful, I recommend upgrading to the paid versions, since they have a lot more features. For example, you can see here a comparison between the free and premium versions of Graham Early. As you can see, the free version on, Lee points out critical grammar and spelling errors, and the premium version goes much deeper. The same is true with pro writing aid. The free version is fine to play around with, but the premium version is much more helpful. As an example. In the free version, you are limited to analyzing 500 words at a time since my block post and obviously my books are much longer than that. I find it well worth it to pay for the premium option. Next. If your budget permits, consider hiring an editor. This is honestly quite expensive, so unless you can really afford it, if you do it at all, only do it for a short period of time. The plus of hiring an editor is that you can see the changes they make in your document. Just make sure you have them use the track changes feature in word. I have actually learned a lot through having my work edited. For instance, many years ago I wrote for print magazines. At the time, I had some excellent editors. I compared the edited and published articles to the article I submitted to them. I often notice that they used a type of punctuation that I wasn't proficient in at the time . Such a semi colons. Through their excellent example, I learned how to properly use semi colons. If you're going to hire a human editor, I recommend first using tools such as Graham early and pro writing Aid to get your document as clean as possible. As an editor myself, I know that the less editing I have to do, the less I charge clients, so do the best you can by using tools and referring to English handbooks before having your work professionally edited. Then compare your best version with the edited version toe. Learn how to improve your writing 4. Practice Makes Perfect: Now let's talk about an old saying that says practice makes perfect when working toward any goal it's essential to commit. Let's face it, if you Onley right when you feel like it, you'll never make much progress. This is especially true in any area of difficulty. I already recommended that you free right daily, and if you do nothing else, commit to that. Here are a few other areas of commitment I recommend Number one published Block Post regularly. Ah, struggle that many writers and that includes native English speakers. Have his publishing blawg post consistently. I'll admit that I've gone through seasons where I've struggled with that myself. But publishing bog post consistently is essential, especially if you want to hone your writing skills. Now keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to publish a massive amount of content, depending on time constraints and how long you take to write a post. You may only publish one post week or even one a month, regardless of frequency. Pick a schedule and stick with it. Not only will this benefit your readers, but it also pushes you to write when you're not in the mood. That regular practice goes a long way toward improving your writing skills. Number to write in English. First, it's tempting to write in your native language first and then translated into English, and that may be necessary when you're first starting out. But make it a goal to transition into writing an English. First writing in English will help you think in English, which is an important step in fluency. Number three right conversationally. When you write your blood content, be sure to write conversationally, particularly if you're insecure about you writing ability. It's tempting to use big words to show your intelligence. However, I'd like to encourage you to write with your heart more than your head. Don't try to impress your readers by using big words. Instead, write like you're having a conversation with someone you know and appreciate. If you're still tempted to use big words, Consider this big words are actually boring. Generally, the Onley people, impressed by big words, are the people who wrote them, not the ones who read them. Also, it's easy to miss. Use a big word if you want to build credibility. Proper word usage is far more critical than impressive word usage, so right is if you're talking to your breast friend who happens to know only English. Practice regularly and you'll improve a little bit each day. And in fact, I want you to. If you don't have a good friend that is a native English speaker, make one up in your head. And when you write Rytas, if you're writing to that person as if you're having a conversation with that person, if you do this, you'll find that you write more naturally and that you're writing gets better each and every day. 5. Journey Vs. Destination: next, let's get into the journey versus the destination. Perfection isn't the goal. As I mentioned earlier, the goal is to make gradual improvements. Even native English speakers with a lot of writing experience like me, make mistakes. So keep in mind that this is a process that takes time, so don't let perfectionistic tendencies get you down. The best way to enjoy the journey is to embrace and celebrate gradual improvements to make things easier on yourself. Initially, right, Shorter blood post. Now I'll be honest with you and tell you that longer post tend to rank better in Google. But remember to focus on the journey and the concept of making gradual improvements. Short post will help keep discouragement and overwhelm at bay. Also short post. Make it easier for you to edit your problem areas. And if you do decide to hire an editor, it will cost you less and having longer post edited, you can apply the gradual improvement concept to post length. If you really struggled with writing, start with super short block posts that are just a few 100 words. You may then graduate to writing 1 500 word post a week and Once you get comfortable with that, increase it to 600 words in 700 words and so on. Now I want to get into how to deal with criticism. First, let me say that in your content, focus first and foremost on providing helpful information. Being helpful and serving your audience well is more important than perfection. While grammar is important, people are more apt to ignore your mistakes. If the information in your content is truly helpful, I also recommend adding a bio to each of your block post. I don't recommend that you apologize for your English in your bio, however, since you tell who you are in your bio. And since part of your story has to do with your country of origin, it's a gentle way to let people know English is not your native language when people realize that they are more likely to offer you grace. I also recommend leading comments that do nothing but point out your mistakes. Those comments aren't helpful and don't add any value to you or others who may read them. Now if people criticize something specific you wrote or offer another opinion on the topic , I recommend leaving those comments public and, when appropriate, responding to them in a professional manner 6. Blog in Your Native Language: Finally, while this class is on blogging in English, I want to finish it off by asking you to consider blogging in your native language. Before I get into that. I want to say that blogging and English is powerful because English is the most popular language on the Internet. If you blogging English, your content has the potential to be read by people all over the world. It's also a great way for you to improve your English language skills, and that type of personal growth is extremely valuable. You can, in fact, consider blogging in English as an exercise in self improvement. Having said that, writing in your own language obviously comes more naturally to you. It's also true that people enjoy reading content in their native language. Unless you're extremely flew into the English, you'll likely find it easier to absorb information in your native language. The same is true for others who speak your native language. They will probably be thrilled to read excellent content in a way that is more natural for them. In addition to that, depending on your specific language, there may be little to no competition in your subject area if you write in your native language. So while it may be true that there are more people reading English language content online , you may find greater success blogging in your own language. I do want to address one topic, and that is to pick one language for a specific site. I've seen people who write in more than one language on a single site, and I understand the reasoning behind that in that you want to reach more people. But sites that have the same content in more than one language tend to be a bit messy and don't really resonate with anyone. So regardless of what you choose, focus on one language on a specific blawg and go all in with it. 7. Your Project: congratulations on completing this class as your project. For this class, you'll identify one area of writing in English You want to improve. For example, you may want to learn proper English capitalization or comma usage. You'll then pick one resource to help you learn that specific skill in the resource section of this class. I've posted a pdf with a list of resource is that you'll find helpful, including other skill share classes. Once you determine what you want to focus on and how you're going to improve in that area, be sure to share those things in the project area of this class. If you have any grammar writing related questions, be sure to post them so I can answer them for you. Thank you so much for taking this class. If you enjoyed it, I'd really appreciate it if you believe me. A review until next time. Happy writing