Writing: The Magic Skill for Better Memory and Focus in Any Language

Writing in another language is so deep, focused and beneficial. It can be a little difficult to build a writing habit at first, I know. But with a clear focus on fluency and a few simple steps to break down your practice, this is not something you'll want to miss out on. Check out these simple tips - they work for any level.

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The Miraculous Benefits of Keeping a Language Notebook

Are you an electric language fiend, armed with Flashcard apps and podcasts? Or going it old-school with pen and paper?

In today’s article, I want to introduce you to some of the tricks I use to get the most out of my language learning routine without adding to my screen time.

language notebook

My absolute language learning essential is a notebook. Flashcards are great for vocabulary lists, but notebooks are for everything. The first thing I do with a new word is write it down in a notebook, maybe with an example and pronunciation note.

Why write on paper?

Working with a paper notebook can bring many excellent benefits to your language learning routine. It provides a refreshing break if you spend most of your time chained to a computer screen or mobile phone. Here are a few reasons that writing on paper can help you add vocabulary, improve your memory and create a better learning experience:

  • Filling a book is visible progress, a huge psychological benefit which is going to keep you motivated and coming back to your language time and time again.

  • As you add notes, you are filling pages of paper with clear signs of your work. It is unmistakably yours as it’s written in your personal style and handwriting. No matter if you are 5 or 50 pages into the adventure, there is nothing like the proud feeling of looking back over what you have already done. Popular apps take the same approach of course by adding skill trees and points scores, so the core message here is to work in a way that shows your progress.

  • Your thoughts become clearer in your own mind. The UK Handwriting Association features this great quote from a 17-year-old student on its website, illustrating the way in which a screen can actually make it harder to focus on what you are learning. He says:

The process of handwriting promotes clear thought and natural structure. Being so close to the page means that translation of thought has less opportunity for deviation.

When typing I find I compulsively re-read my work on the screen and the ability to edit is sometimes paralysing, Although computer work can allow for more complex structure, it is often too complex and has many complications for timed conditions.

  • The act of writing notes down by hand has been scientifically proven to aid memory many times over. When you write your notes by hand, you become better at remembering them. The conclusion of this study was that typing can help you score highly on tests very early (just think Duolingo), but hand writing retains the upper hand when it comes to adding new items to your long-term memory.
  • You are in charge of your learning experience. Writing allows you to start from zero and design your page in the way that aligns best with how your mind works.

Some note takers prefer mind maps and doodles, while others jot down information in a linear way. The pages you create will reflect your state of mind, and allow you to make your motions through the learning progress visible.

How to work with the notebook?

When you start learning languages, the notebook becomes more than just the place to note down the bare facts. You can use it for two core purposes:

1. Language Learning

Noting new vocabulary as and when you hear it, drawing memory aids, mapping out your memory palace even. Notebooks are also the right space to write down grammar rules and example sentences. On the pages of my own notebook, I see pronunciation notes and alphabet practice. Basically, anything.

For reviewing and testing yourself, there can be pages dedicated to vocabulary learning. My technique for such pages is the classic language learning approach of writing two vocabulary columns with a line down the middle. As I review the new words, I cover up one column and work through the list.

Here is an example of what this looks like in my current book:

The fabulous "draw a line in the middle" technique in action.

The fabulous "draw a line in the middle" technique in action.

It is easy to highlight words that I tend to forget, and even easier to add them to another list at a later stage so that my revision materials always stay fresh.

At the start of every new session, try looking through previous pages to review what you have learnt before. There is no need to memorize it word for word, but it will jog your memory and set up the ground today’s session can grow from.

2. Goal Setting and Productivity

Language learning is a big journey. For some learners it’s about growth and development, for others it’s a hobby or an aspiration. No matter what your goals and motivations are, you can gain a lot from journaling and noting them down in the notebook.

Consider adding interesting facts about places, drawing maps or pasting in tickets and mementos from your trips.

Again, writing by hand and focusing on the book in front of you aids clarity and minimises distraction. In a busy world full of overachievers, this is more important than ever.

How can you navigate the notebook?

One of the downsides of paper is that it doesn't have a search bar.

To aid yourself with a bookmark system, consider colour-coding areas like "grammar", "vocab" or "situations". Again, the beauty of your notebook is that this is your personal space. You’re no language learning robot, so work with what feels good to you.

The great thing about building your personal language learning system is that these categories can be unique to you and help you build the exact language course that you need (remember that this is one of the core principles in independent language learning).

My favourite bookmarks are sticky notes such as this very cute set from Busy B, but this isn't the only way. You can experiment with a notebook in sections, with highlighter pens or beautiful bookmarks.

Good Notebook Options

You can get paper from anywhere of course, but the best language learning notebooks are durable and built to handle a bit of use.

You will leaf through the pages a lot, so forget about spine or refill pads straight away. Go for a notebook that is bound like a real book and lasts you all year. Next, discard any paper that is too thin or delicate to take scribbles, highlighters and different kinds of pen. You never know when you'll want to write something down and all you'll have to reach for is your auntie's fountain pen.

The style of paper does not matter - go for squared, lined or blank and pick a paper size that gives you a little space to work with. The language learning notebook works best it doesn't fill up too quickly. My favourite options are the Moleskine A5 Lined Notebooks and the custom booklets from Bound.

##Love the Freedom

The key to using notebooks in your language learning is that they allow for an amazing range of creative activities. In paper choice, organisation and pens, and even the content: This is YOUR space. I cannot tell you what to do, but only tell you what works for me.

If you want to become more effective and enjoy vocabulary learning, check out my book The Vocab Cookbook. This book will guide you through the process in detail and give you a step-by-step approach to learning vocab in an organised way.

Do you use a paper notebook? Is it part of your regular learning activities?

If yes, then I would be very interested to hear more about it (maybe even with a photo?) in the comments or over on Facebook.

Upgrade Fluency Made Achievable on your iPad or Mac

If you are a regular Fluent reader, you'll already know that I have published two language learning guides so far. They're called Fluency Made Achievable and The Vocab Cookbook, and both have been for sale exclusively on Kindle this year.

fma

Well guys, it's time to break free and announce the launch of my new iBooks version of Fluency Made Achievable. Over the past weeks I decided to work on creating this special edition of the book, and it's now been approved for sale on the iBooks store.

Why is this cool?

This is not just an ebook you can't do anything with. While every language guide I write is designed to make you take action and start changing small steps in your routines, the new iBooks version delivers more of that than ever. The work on this new version included several optimisations to make it the best possible FMA you've ever seen on the iPad or Mac.

An clear, easy and very helpful read that was well worth the money for me. (Eleni Gotsis on Amazon)

The book is already very popular over on Amazon.com, with 4- and 5-star reviews all round. And here are the most important reasons to get the iBooks edition of this book if you're reading on an iPad or Mac:

  • The navigation and table of contents have been optimised so you can jump between chapters and points and find the right parts straight away. There is not a single reference to a page number, everything works as it should in an ebook.
  • It's produced for the iBooks reader, which makes it way prettier than a Kindle version.
  • The links are clickable so you can switch between reading and researching like a real 21st century book master.
  • You can now buy this in 51 different countries!
  • The book contains multimedia enhancements in the form of embedded video and brand new audio interviews.

Why can't I find this on my iPhone?

The iBooks edition of FMA contains added media enhancements and sadly this seems to mean Apple won't let you buy it on your phone. You're not missing out though, just whip out your Mac/iPad or get the classic Kindle version.

No special offers?

As you know, I run the odd promotion for my books but want to make sure I don't add to anyone's "digital junk" pile. The iBooks store will let me distribute promo codes soon, but not until I've jumped through a few tax hoops (like telling them that I don't live in Japan...in writing...in duplicate) so until then I have just made the price affordable for everyone.

Sounds awesome, how do I find iBooks please?

If you are on an iPad or Mac, simply open your app browser and type in "ibooks". You already have the iBooks store on there as it comes with your device. Then all you need to do is this:

1. Search for my name

ibooks store

2. Find Fluency Made Achievable

3. Enjoy!

Pretty! Optimized for your Mac or iPad. And ever so helpful :)

Pretty! Optimized for your Mac or iPad. And ever so helpful :)

Anything else you should know?

I'm very happy to be offering this new version of my book in iBooks, and behind the scenes you should also look out for the Fluent Box Set, which is coming back in the summer.

I have considered writing a new language learning guide or a little travel guide for German learners, so if you're excited about what I could write next why not comment here and tell me what you'd like to see? I'm curious about your suggestions.

As always, thanks so much for reading and checking in with the Fluent blog.

Kerstin

Three Quick Techniques for Speaking and Writing More in a Foreign Language

If you are the self-directed type of language learner, I bet you’ve got yourself a little routine set up and have a large amount of input coming in. Online courses, flashcard decks, podcasts. And instructions and TV shows. And Harry Potter in whatever language you are learning. It’s all about how much you can put into your head in the shortest possible period of time.

speak-write-more-fluent

And then an article comes along and tells you to “speak more”, so you pack your motivation and get yourself that language exchange partner, you open your mouth and …. nothing. Where the HECK are all those new words, please?

Like you, I totally know the feeling of wanting to just open your mouth and speak. I see it in my students on a regular basis. I can feel it when I try to have a French conversation. Why is it so frustrating?

For me, the heart of the problem lies in the nature of the skills you have been training. There are output and input activities. And within those, thee four core language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. All languages are systems of communication, so they require you to be able to both understand and produce comprehensible things. Balance really matters, and if you are on chapter 15 of your Assimil, but you can’t talk at chapter 3 level, you need to go back to the core language skills and start pushing yourself to go from input to output.

Core Language Skills to the Rescue

Luckily, this isn’t quite as tough as it seems. In my book Fluency Made Achievable, you can find lots of easy exercises for training the specific skills of writing and speaking. And here are three ideas you can use in your language learning routine to focus on boosting your output. If you have to cut some of your study time away from the input-focused tasks through this, don’t hesitate to do so. The aim of incorporating output into your language learning is not to make you better at producing language right away, but instead to give you that core skills balance. You will find that you become a better and more confident speaker through this, and that you’ll start approaching that desirable feeling of fluency and confidence.

1. Reply Back

This exercise is for all those learners who spend hours with foreign language podcasts and TV shows. It cuts right through all those excuses and attention drifts that are holding you back. Whenever you are listening to those recordings, get into a routine of stopping what you are listening to every five minutes. Think about whatever the actors were talking about and imagine you are being interviewed about the same topic. If you are watching a drama, imagine you are part of the action. What would you say? What do you think about these facts?

Don’t just imagine what you would say, but reply back to the video, talk to the actors or the imaginary interviewer in your head. Speak out loud, like no one is around you. This exercise is so perfect for being in the car or studying at home. Not only does it force you to say something, but it also prevents you from tuning out. If you force yourself to think about what was discussed and reply back, you are also forced to listen attentively and make sure you really understand. No more hiding.

If you’re interested in a great tool deeply understanding native language content, check out Yabla, a fabulous tool that goes so much further than your average YouTube channel.

2. Describe Your World

Here is a quote from Fluency Made Achievable, in which I interviewed language learner David Mansaray about his favourite practices in learning a foreign language:

I like to describe the world around me in a the foreign language. For example: ”The boy is wearing a hat”, or ”The woman is pushing a pram”, or ”The people around me are boring so I'd rather think in my head in a foreign language”. I can do this exercise anywhere at any time. It not only helps me practice, but it also helps me to discover vocabulary and grammatical structures I need to work on. I make a note of these in a small notebook I always carry with me and work on them later.

No matter if you are recording a voice memo on your phone or jotting sentences down in a notebook like David does, the key is that you are using your language in the context that works for you. You can go from foreign language shopping lists to describing an everyday scene in great detail. The key is that you maintain active use and produce something in a foreign language on a regular basis. This exercise is also particularly great because it builds habits very easily, which can make a huge difference when you start coming out of the first honeymoon phase.

3. Write Short Lines Every Day

There is a reason I keep making my students aware of the need to write as part of their language practice. Writing forces you into paying attention. When you try to write something on your phone, you miss what's on the TV. When you try to tweet while talking to someone, it comes out as nonsense. Writing has this way of being an activity that tells you "HEY! Look here! This is where you focus now". I often talk about how much I find that this practice is underrated, and it is the quietest core language skill. If speaking a foreign language appealed to you because you are an introvert, or dreaming of overcoming shyness, then you may not be willing to spend hours crafting short stories.

Nonetheless, you should put your mind to short and regular writing practice. A line a day is easily written, takes up five minutes of your time and STILL does more for you than half an hour of podcasts can. If you work with a tutor, why not email or text them in your target language from time to time?

Or alternatively, start out translating one line from your native language every single day. Over time, you will feel this huge sense of achievement as you realise you have written thousands of words in your foreign language. Behold the achievement when it happens, congratulate yourself on your progress and make sure you get this proofread.

Remember Balance

Nothing is as frustrating as feeling you are working hard and making no progress at all, and understanding the core language skills idea will help you propel forward your language learning progress. Getting stuck in a rut is not for you.

Here is the key: Maintain variety and keep doing the things you haven’t done.

It’s not about beating yourself up when you find that your writing skill doesn’t live up to your advanced reading routines. It’s about recognising that there’s a skill gap and getting to work. I promise you that you’ll find yourself getting better and boosting your confidence in a little matter of weeks. It’s incredible what a shake-up can do for language learners.

If you want to work through your own core language skills assessment, check out my book Fluency Made Achievable which is focused entirely on this system of four skills and contains a neat 3 week planner. It will help you build your proficiency and focus on strengthening the precise skills you need.

Do your Mistakes Matter in Language Learning? A "Written Homework" Perspective

You know, language learners, how we bloggers always bang on about “things don’t have to be perfect” and “start speaking even if you will make mistakes”? You’ve heard all this, right? You’ve heard it and nodded and seen how it makes sense. You believe that you will be able to get over yourself.

But here’s the thing:

When it comes to really putting your skills on the line and “showing your workings” to another person, are you still holding back?

mistakes

Take this example from one of my German students. We had spent a little time reading a news article and discussing the themes in it. In terms of core skills, this guy is a red hot reader! He is not only happy and confident about picking up any book from Harry Potter to Dune in German, but will also approach it with the positive mindset of someone who enjoys understanding every single word. We’ve also worked so much on speaking skills over the year and made excellent progress. But there’s one thing on my list, one left to cover: The Writing skill needs a push.

Why Do I Prompt My Students to Write?

You can tell me that pushing ahead on writing skill is just not what an adult learner needs in 2014, but I’d just direct you to what I wrote in Fluency Made Achievable: There are four key components to building up expertise and confidence in the language you’re trying to acquire: listening, reading, speaking and writing. You can't skip out on one of those four without feeling the consequences at some point. Even if you are not planning to enter into a German story competition any time soon, pushing your writing skill has a million advantages for your language learning journey. For example, your composition and structuring skills transfer straight to the spoken word. An experienced writer doesn’t need language exchanges, their confidence will come naturally when they open their mouth. For introverted learners, getting into writing also has huge advantages since you’ll become comfortable AND GOOD at using your target language correctly, before ever entering that “risk period” where someone else sees you. And believe it or not, being a great speller means being a great reader and speaker of your target language.

To speak a language well, it helps to understand how spelling and pronunciation work together. (Tweet this here)

If a tree falls in the forest…

Writing can be very introverted, it’s an exercise you do at home, typing away on your computer or scribbling into a notebook. No one else needs to see what you write. And there's why this is so difficult: Because your writing isn't for others to see, it becomes pretty easy to just not do it. What you need is accountability.

You know what it’s like with New Year’s resolutions: No one will ever know you’re doing it unless you actually tell them. Your foreign language writing is the same thing. If you don’t find someone that actually expects you to write, it becomes too easy to avoid doing this work altogether. You start realizing that mistakes are really, really visible when you write. On the one hand, language learners subscribe to the philosophy that making mistakes is part of learning. But on the other hand, showing those mistakes to people as a “written fact” is the hardest thing in the world.

Which leads me back to my wonderful student. I set him an exercise two weeks ago: Summarize each paragraph of our text in simple words, just one sentence picking up the key points. Yesterday I got an email saying:

I must admit that I am just not getting it done right now. I have tried to work on it a couple of times this week, but have only a few sentences to show for it. I feel like I’m still learning, but just not making progress on this part.

Those are the words of somebody who’s judging himself pretty harshly. My reaction? “A few sentences? That’s AWESOME!! All credit to you for trying, and we totally have something to work with now for the lesson.” Do I care if he’s sending me a perfect summary of the text? No! Do I treat this like a school exam, grading him on a scale of A to F for “failure”? No! From the point of view of your language tutor, let me tell you that all I want you to do is try your best. Or even your semi-best. Just sit down and do the thing, open up, be vulnerable and let’s work on this together.

No matter if you do work with a tutor or not, here are a few tips on embracing mistakes in your writing:

  • Stop apologising to anyone about how “little” work you do, and start embracing that any exercise done means you become vulnerable. Most likely you're not perfect. You will spell things wrong and (if I'm your teacher) I will still LOVE it, because that's how I can know which bits you spell wrong. We tutors are largely a kind bunch. We appreciate the fact that you have made a commitment to study a foreign language.
  • Converseley, if you ever hear a person in a "teaching position" tell you that you're never going to get it, consider FIRING THEM.
  • Go somewhere specific to do your writing: not in the office, not at the computer, not where you usually type all your Facebook posts. Here are a few more tips on why that is going to help.
  • Work with word order formulas. Here are a few German ones you can use, but if you are studying other languages please ensure that the word order you’re working with is actually correct:

1) Subject + verb + object

2) time + verb + subject + object

3) Subject + verb to say "says" or "expresses", subject + verb (indirect speech) + object

  • Use a little bit of lesson time or email time to type in your foreign language. This can be done right from day 1, and it's one of the easiest way to bridge the gap when you don't have a native speaker to practice with.

The Language Writing Challenge

In conclusion, writing is difficult. It may well be the core skill that takes the most time, makes your mistakes super visible and has the most potential to embarrass you. And now we've put that out into the open, it's time to get over it! Try one of the steps above, or even start by copying textbook language into your notebook, but it's a fact of language learning that writing will always be there. It's part of a healthy language habit!

I've tried my best to address all of the reasons why you would avoid writing in your language practice above. Got any others? Write me a comment and see if you can change my mind!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

How Flashcards Helped Me Get Back To Language Learning

You guys might remember a recent post from Angel Armstead, our resident Japanese language and video game buff! Today, Angel is sharing a bit more about how she uses flashcards to get back into the action.

Something as simple as flashcards have helped me get back on my way into language learning. I still have a very busy schedule. I'm working on creating my own coffee business. I want to complete a novel and I've decided to create my own video game. That doesn't even add in the miscellaneous stuff I do such as piano practice or other emergencies that steal time from me.

I use these Kanji Flashcards every day.

I use these Kanji Flashcards every day.

So How Did It Help?

For the most obvious reasons is that they can be taken anywhere. I can take a break from writing and look at my few vocab words or Kanji characters. It's the convenience behind using flashcards anytime and anywhere that made it easy for me to continue to learn Kanji characters and new vocab. When I had stopped language learning altogether because of lack of time I could have used them then. It wasn't until I decided to stop procrastinating that I realized I could do some language learning in a simpler way.

The big thing about flashcards is that they really help me with is the Kanji characters. It's good for vocab too. But all through college I didn't feel like I could learn the Japanese writing system. With the flashcards I feel like I have really memorized certain characters. When I see them in other written works I still remember what the character stands for and other ways to use the same character.

Why Point Out Something That Most People Already Know?

A lot of people I know don't think something simple as flashcards can help much with anything. But in my experience, flashcards are such a great fall guy! Even when you're too busy to listen to a lesson or meet with a teacher, you still have a minute or two to spare for a few words that day. That's all it takes to keep going, after all. A lot of people don't realize how something so simple can help out so much.

Recommended places for Kanji Cards

If you're interested in grabbing your own Kanji card sets, here are my own recommendations: I went to two separate places for kanji cards. One was Amazon.com, but the cards I typically use the most are the ones I got from http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/. Their cards do make it obvious which meaning is Japanese and which is the original Chinese meaning. The Japanese meaning will be in hiragana and the Chinese in katakana. They also have kana flashcards. Typically learners of Japanese learn the kana first. It's even more important if you're going the flashcard route. The meanings on kanji flashcards will be in kana.

Sample Book Chapter: Mastering Writing In Another Language

The following text is a sample chapter from Fluency Made Achievable, one of the new Fluent Guides which are out just now! You can order the combo pack of both guides through my website now to gain confidence, improve techniques and become a successful language learner. 

Click here to find out all about the books.

Writing Training: Composition Tricks for Writing in a Foreign Language

For many language learners, writing is one of the most important ways that they connect with the outside world. You start the day updating your status on Facebook, maybe you sit in an office typing emails or you have to produce reports and essays for your studies. Recently, I had the pleasure of running a special writing-focused German class with one of my students. We looked how written language changes depending on the situation, how pronunciation and spelling are related and where to put all those pesky commas.

Let's think about writing skills today. Writing is so much as a part of language learning. It can be your daily practice or preparation for a core exam, for example.

On a practical scale, writing will serve the foreign language learner extremely well because it really shows up every part of your grammatical and stylistic weaknesses, and gives you a chance to improve on exactly where you are weak. But there is more to this act than just improving grammar or spelling: When you write, you are able to share your thoughts and make them last.

Like most big and intimidating projects, things get so much easier when you break them down into smaller tasks, and that is exactly what the composition process will do for you.

Today let's have a detailed look at writing great texts. It can be broken down into three stages: Before Writing, During Writing and After Writing.

Before Writing

When you are planning to write something in a foreign language, the planning stage is even more important than it already is. Writing something of more than 50 words requires structure, writing 200 words requires structure and research, and if you are working on something even longer, which is an inevitability for language stages above B2 (here is a very detailed official explanation of the stages), your writing will improve 200% from just putting 10 minutes into planning.

As a language learner, here are the questions to consider and answer before starting to write:

  • What is the writing style you’re working on? Letters, formal and informal language, journalist reports and creative writing all have their own style set of suitable vocabulary and phrases. The best trick here is to read and analyse the type of text that you are planning to write. Underline words and phrases that you can use in your own writing.
  • Is there a set of relevant vocabulary to prepare? You should have the most important words on hand without looking each up in a dictionary. Before you start, build a word cloud or mind map of relevant words and phrases. Research set lines that you can use over and over again, like greeting formulas in letters and classic story structures.
  • What is the structure of your project going to be? Sketching out a very rough draft of your letter or article is so useful here. It will help you make sure all the important points are covered, in a logical order and that you know how to end your piece of writing. At this stage, work with bullet points and notes. Right now, I am working off a scribbled note from a piece of paper — not surprising!
  • Check if you have covered the 5 core questions journalists work with when writing anything: Who? Where? When? Why? How? Answering those five tells a complete story, no matter if you are sending a postcard or analysing Shakespeare.
  • Note why you are writing your piece and what you want the reader to do. For a letter to a friend (an exercise you can find in any language exam!), the reader’s questions are going to be about how you are feeling, what happened to you recently and what you want them to write in return. But if you are writing to book accommodation on your next trip, the questions are a lot more practical: When do you want to come, who are you bringing, what do you need, how are you getting here? You should always include a part in your writing that tells the reader what to do next, if you are expecting a reply or if you want them to think about something. Even when you are putting a creative story to paper, the things you are describing are designed to make the reader feel or think certain things.

During Writing

Once the planning stage is done, you can start writing successfully. Connect the notes and bullet points you made before you started, and always keep in mind who your readers are going to be and what they need to know and hear. Don’t forget to think about your reader, and the kinds of expectations that they will have.

The structure of a good writing process is to draft, revise, edit and expand.

  • Draft a few sentences, some lines or the whole text based on the notes you made before.
  • Revise what you have written, read through it first time, check if all the important points are covered. * Edit your text, pay attention to words and verb endings and grammar, weed out mistakes. At this stage, reading the text out loud is one of my favourite tricks for finding little mistakes that are just too easy to overlook otherwise. Reading aloud and printing text that you typed on screen are going to make you a better writer, guaranteed.
  • Expand what you have written, see if there are extra points, descriptions and polite notes to be added if they suit the style of what you are writing.

For productivity and concentration during the writing process, my own advice for you is to: * Eliminate all distractions: Turn off music, go somewhere quiet, sit down comfortably. * Focus on your writing: Turn of the screen or close your eyes while typing if you are a good touch typist. * Turn off the internet: Do not allow yourself to do anything but write until the chapter, page or point is done. * Expect that it won’t be any good: It is more important to put something down that you can fix, than to produce nothing at all because you aren’t perfect yet.

After Writing

For me, it’s usually almost impossible to resist the urge to publish and “tick off” that piece of writing after I am done with typing it up. But having learnt more techniques for the short post-writing process, I admit that they are valuable too. Resist that temptation to publish or hand in your piece straight after completing it, and instead allow a little time to Revise and Publish. After writing, you are able to get feedback and this is part of the publishing process. It is perfectly acceptable to share the writing in various places, and here are a few ideas for what can be made of that story in future:

  • If you are keen to show your writing to native speakers, the journaling sections of Lang-8 and italki are great. I have also seen learners get decent feedback from Reddit and Facebook Groups, and a trusted teacher, friend, colleague or family member should also be available to help.
  • If you are seeking community, publish in a blog or newsletter.
  • Contribute to a Wiki, especially if you have produced a report or summary rather than an opinion piece.
  • Record or produce a film, radio play or podcast based on your writing. This is going to be particularly great if you produced something creative and plan to use it as a regular outlet.

Conclusion

Foreign language writing is like every other aspect of foreign language learning: The easier it is for you to do what you are trying to do in your native language, the easier it will be to make this happen in a foreign language.

Writing is more than just part of our everyday lives. It is a part of culture, creativity and self-improvement for millions of people.

To me, this is what makes the process worthwhile. It has encouraged me to find my own editors for my English, even though I write hundreds of words in this language every day. I will always count writing as an important part of who I am and how I communicate with people, and can’t wait to see what you produce!

If you want to find out more about what breaking down language into its core language skills can do for you, you have got to take a look at Fluency Made Achievable, my smart guide about them. The techniques above are so awesome that I will make sure you have easy access to them as a bonus chapter in my book, meaning you’ll be able to read them on the go!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent - The Language Learning Blog. Don't forget - if you sign up to our newsletter, you will receive a free Guide to the Best Language Learning Resources!