Writing in a Foreign Language Part 1: 5 Ways to Get Solid Practice
This article is a follow-up to our 2019 post on writing in a foreign language.
Foreign language learners often undermine the importance of writing. The focus is mostly on learning how to communicate, but writing is just as important skill. It is true that writing can be a bigger challenge. However, it is nothing that you can’t conquer.
The trick with improving your writing in a foreign language is using useful techniques. You won’t be up for the challenge if you limit yourself to textbook exercises. There are more fun ways of practicing writing in a foreign language. To prove that point, we have prepared a list of a few suggestions. These interesting ways of practicing will help you strengthen your foreign language writing skill.
1. Get Interactive Online
The internet connects us to the whole world, and you should use that to your advantage. Find blogs or movie review forums in the target language and get to typing.
You can leave comments on blog posts or discuss your thoughts about a movie. Taking part in online discussions can be an endless resource for writing practice. Not to mention that you get to choose what you’ll write about.
Besides practicing writing, you can see how the natives write and possibly acquire some new tricks. You’ll be able to learn more native-like expressions that you won’t find in books or textbooks.
2. Write Book Overview or Review
This is a great exercise for more advanced learners. If you are at a stage where you read essays or books in a foreign language, put that to use.
After you read a book, write an overview or review about it. You can do the same for short stories, essays, or scenarios. Do this while the story is still fresh in your memory.
The reading will fill your mind with new vocabulary, and you’ll get to use it through writing. You’ll be surprised how it will be easier to memorize new words when you give them a purpose. In this case, to write a synopsis or a review.
3. Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way to clear your thoughts and save your memories. Why not do all of that and boost your writing skill?
Start journaling in a foreign language. Since you’ll write about your life, the words and phrases won’t be complex. Even if you are at a beginner level, you’ll be able to do it. You’ll get to share your daily activities and thoughts and learn from your mistakes along the way.
Try to use your phone or laptop for journaling. Therefore, you can paste the content to an online grammar checker and see what your mistakes are. Or, if you want to be more serious about it, find an editing service and let them review some parts of your journal. Paper writing services are usually most affordable, so simply type “rewrite my paper,” and you’ll get some good results.
Just keep in mind that consistency is the key. Write every day if you can. A few sentences will do, as long as you write something down. In this way, you can get regular practice without the pressure of learning.
4. Find Yourself a Penpal
Who says that having a penpal is the thing of the past? You might not need to write letters, but you can still engage in correspondence with someone far away.
There are websites such as Conversation Exchange that have a penpal option. Decide on a language you want to practice, and you’ll get yourself a new foreign friend.
Through these conversations, you can do more than just practice writing. Learn about that country’s culture or start a conversation about your interests. For example, if you are in the marketing business, you can ask your penpal about how it all works there. This will help you learn words and phrases in your niche.
5. Use Apps in a Foreign Language
Besides language learning apps, there are lots of apps that can help you with your writing skills. Look for apps in a foreign language that demand writing.
Use a shopping list app, daily schedule app, weight loss app, motivation app, or any app that asks you to write updates. Those simple daily inputs can be your source of practice.
This may sound simple, but once you start, you’ll realize that you’ll be reaching for the dictionary every now and then. If you find it tough to remember some grammar rules or words, make flashcards to practice them some more.
The apps are useful because they can expand your knowledge on various topics. Install an app depending on the subject you want to write about. Just make sure that the app includes writing.
The best part of these ways of practicing writing is that they will cover it all. You get to learn how to write based on literature reading, you’ll learn internet slang, and you’ll also see the native’s writing style. This gives your writing practice a wider reach. Aside from being more fun than typical textbook writing assignments, these writing ideas are more versatile and engaging.