Think of language learning as a combination of four skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Listening and reading are skills that focus on interpreting language that we receive as an input.
Speaking and writing are skills that focus on creating that language and forming meaningful sentences.
That’s why writing is so important. It’s the ultimate form of expression - what we write doesn’t disappear into the lost recesses of our memory, it stays fixed on the medium we write on.
To become an expert in any language, learning how to write is a key factor. We only truly master a language when we can express ourselves eloquently in both spoken and written form.
Let’s get to it then - how do we master the written form?
The answer is quite simple really.
Write every day.
Writing is an art that needs to be learned with consistent practice. The best way to learn is to practice regularly. The best language learners (and also polyglots) learn the best by maintaining a diary. The more you write, the more you get used to the structure of the language.
All right, now that I’ve told you the main ingredient, here’s the rest of the writing menu:
Readout what you’ve written
A great way to give yourself feedback is to just read aloud what you write. You practice speaking English this way, as well as being able to figure out if you’re writing correctly.
Get feedback from a teacher/mentor
We learn fastest when we have a good teacher. Knowing how to point out mistakes is simple, but knowing what mistakes should be pointed out at what time sets apart the truly excellent teachers.
Be open about your mistakes and correct them
Krashen’s hypotheses of language learning have long been accepted in the world of education. One of his ideas was the affective filter, a very simple concept - if you’re shy, if you’re afraid, you won’t learn.
Embrace the fact that you’re learning the language. Laugh at your own mistakes, and find out how to correct them. That’s how everyone learns. Have pride in being able to improve your language! That’s what matters most.
The writing cycle
Any writing process needs to go through five phases:
Prewriting is the first step - plan what you want to write. Jot down your ideas.
Drafting is when you put your words down for the first time, in the format you want.
Revision involves enhancing your first draft with extra ideas, removing what you don’t need, and sequencing it correctly.
Editing - fix grammatical errors, spacing issues, any other last touches
Publish - Make the final draft of your work, ready for viewing by your audience!
This structure of writing gives healthy spaces for learning and incorporates a sense of achievement when you finish the process. Which brings me to the last point - have to fun writing!