How to Blog as a Non Native English Speaker: 8 Tips

  February 26, 2022 blogging tips πŸ•‘ 12 minutes read
how to blog as a non native english speaker

Market Pondicherry, India.

 

(Originally published March 2, 2021 updated February 26, 2022)

 

Figuring out how to blog as a non native English speaker can be a challenging experience.

 

Fear manifests in many ways for ESL bloggers. The fears of criticism, rejection and failure seem common in their minds.

 

Even though I learned English growing up in the United States I tuned into your experiences deeply. Blogging From Paradise readers hail from:

 

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Africa
  • various other places where English is not the native tongue

 

Most of you speak and write English quite fluently but consistently expressing yourself in English sometimes feels uncomfortable or outright frustrating. I know. Circling the globe for 11 years forced me to communicate in languages other than English. Especially in Spanish-speaking countries, even though I can hold a conversation in Spanish, speaking, listening, writing and reading Spanish feels highly uncomfortable sometimes.

 

Tengo sed. Y tengo hambre.

 

Hace diez horas que comio cena. Tengo MUCHO hambre. Pero tomo cafe ahora. De Tailandia. O Siam. Delicioso!

 

I betcha didn’t know I could – barely – speak a second language? Yep; I am SSL: Spanish Second Language.

 

I learned the basics in high school. Plus, I have some real world experience speaking Spanish while living in, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, in the ‘burbs, where gringos and English speaking Nicas and Ticos and Peruvians lurk…..then…….I spent 6 Β weeks living in a remote jungle outside of Bribri, Costa Rica. Ain’t nobody speaking English there. So I did the immersion thing.

 

Truth be told; I spoke to more monkeys than humans during this stretch (One attempted to urinate on me; true story). But Kelli and I spoke Spanish quite a bit for this 6 week stretch.

 

This was a fun, enlightening and highly uncomfortable experience at times.

 

How to Blog as a Non Native English Speaker

 

I share because I can relate some to you rocking readers if you are ESL bloggers: English Second Language. I love all my readers from all over the globe: our Pakistani buddies, Indian buddies, Cambodian buddies, Indonesian buddies, Bangladeshi buddies….and of course, I love everybody who stops by BFP so I can pull the wool over your eyes a few times weekly.

 

Anyway, I wrote this post to help you knife through the scary, uncomfortable, freeing, elating and intimidating wave of emotions that may flood your being at times, if you want to build a successful blog – in English – but fear wading into English-speaking blogging waters regularly. Bloggers become highly successful even if English is not their native language. Becoming a pro blogger involves communicating effectively enough to:

 

  • help targeted readers
  • elicit positive, success-promoting emotions from your readership

 

I intend to help you become a clear, confident blogger who communicates skillfully in English even if this is not your native tongue.

 

Follow these tips to grow a successful blog in English if you are a non-native English speaker.

 

1: Watch Netflix in English

 

This one is easy.

 

Immerse yourself in English. Watch Netflix. Just binge watch episodes like I binge eat weirdly packaged Thai sweet snacks.

 

Listening to entertaining shows is a direct and clear way to learn English.

 

Note; you can also watch Youtube videos in English if YT floats your boat. I’d suggest Netflix because the shows are fabulous, drawing you in, cutting your learning curve.

 

One of my earliest memories of learning Spanish was watching Sabado Gigante on Univision in New Jersey, some 23 years ago, listening to now superstar but then unknown Sofia Vergara spit out machine gun rapid fire Spanish as I slowly but steadily followed, absorbed and learned.

 

Watching Netflix or TV or listening to audio English works as well as any other strategy for getting comfy with the language.

 

Time Element

 

Feel free to spend 30-60 minutes daily watching Netflix, YouTube or any streaming service to re-introduce yourself to spoken English. Give yourself ample time to learn through exposure. No one picks up English idioms or other nuances after listening to native speakers for 5-10 minutes. Concepts gradually seep into your mind after hours, weeks then months of listening to native speakers communicate in natural fashion.

 

11 Fundamentals of Successful Blogging Audio Course

 

I always improve my Spanish-speaking skills after spending a few months conversing with native speakers in relaxed, natural settings. My confidence with speaking Spanish surges after chatting with Spanish-speaking people for hours because the mind needs repetition to allow ideas to take root.

 

Do not bust your hump to write and speak in English effectively. Allow English to permeate through your being. Listening to videos for a bit feels uncomfortable sometimes but lets you learn English in a controlled, largely comfortable environment because passive learning allows you to absorb concepts at your own speed.

 

2: Read Fiction and Non-Fiction Novels in English

 

Read like a freaking machine.

 

I read 30 to 60 minutes of fiction nightly. Novels. My writing skills improved dramatically since adhering to this daily ritual.

 

Exposing yourself to brilliant authors helps you to take on some of their qualities. Like, being a better writer. In English.

 

You learn:

 

  • pace
  • flow
  • story telling
  • grammar
  • mental picture-painting
  • how to inject humor into your work
  • ways to inject drama into your work
  • how to write with compassion

 

by reading brilliant authors.

 

My favorite author: George R.R. Martin. Yeah, the A Song of Ice and Fire guy. Or, the Game of Thrones guy. Pick any English-speaking author who vibes with you. At the end of the day, reading content pleasing to you relaxes your mind to become receptive to English. Consider reading topics you deeply enjoy. The concept of the work matters little compared to your assimilation of English phrases, word usage and overall presentation.

 

Skilled authors offer you writing breadcrumbs. Imagine a pro author laying out little clues of how to write skillfully in English, simply by you reading their work in clear detail. Enjoy the works of these clear, confident writers to become a clear, confident writer who blogs in the English language.

 

Intimidation-Comparison Note

 

Do not be intimidated by skilled authors by comparing yourself to these pros. Remember that professional authors spend years writing millions of words in the English language to become iconic. Never compare their lifelong commitment to your shorter, newer commitment. Plus, no blogger needs to write as skillfully as Hemingway in order to go pro.

 

Simply pick up some writing skills through osmosis but know how your writing journey can and will deviate from that of published authors. Walk your writing path. Allow these authors to write their path. Admire pros but do not compare yourself to these writers. Respect their writing game but get busy tightening up your English writing skills by following the sum collection of these tips.

 

3: Follow English Native-Speaking BUT Laid Back Bloggers

 

Like me.

 

Because even though I am a native English speaker – allegedly – I show you it’s OK to build a cool blog despite having a less than firm grasp on the niceties of the English language. Code for: I don’t give a shit about grammar but have pulled the wool over enough eyes to goad them into thinking I can write.

 

Pomegranate Cart Kathmandu Nepal

Pomegranate Cart Kathmandu Nepal

 

Feast on my English. Laid back English. Because in so doing you will take the grammar-obsessed pressure off yourself that hamstrings many bloggers who are ESL.

 

The English Language Rules Robot

 

Highly skilled, native English speakers sometimes offer sound writing advice based on specific rules. I deeply appreciate their presentation and learn valuable lessons from these pros. However, some non-native speaker bloggers become “rules robots” who write in un-natural, clunky, stiff fashion by attempting to do something as creative and free form as writing via following strict rules from logic alone.

 

Creating is largely heart-based. Following set rules can give you guidance but remember; humans are human beings, not mindless human doings. At the end of the day, most non-native speakers grow non-native speaking communities. Do all of your Indian readers demand that you write and speak in the King’s English? Do all of your Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali or African readers implore you to use flawless English grammar?

 

Bloggers do not need to pass writing tests administered by native speaking English teachers. Learn from native speaking bloggers with a chill approach to grammar to experience sweet, freeing blogging success without pulling your hair out before tapping the “publish” button.

 

Never hold yourself up to the standards of an English-writing purist if your readers do not demand this level of English proficiency. Being informal, impersonal and less than perfect writing-wise often makes us endearing in the eyes of readers, customers and clients who appreciate the relaxed, down-home nature of blogging.

 

4: Slow Down Versus Rushing the English Learning Process

 

Trying to figure out how to blog as a non native English speaker is not a comfortable process.

 

Feeling uncomfortable usually pushes bloggers to try to learn how to write and speak in English from a forced, chaotic energy. Non-native English speakers attempt to rush the process of learning English. However, the outcome proves less than successful. What is worth doing demands you:

 

  • generosity
  • patience
  • persistence
  • time

 

to do it well. I spent years learning how to speak Spanish. Expect to spend years learning how to speak and write English, let alone, learning how to listen to and process people speaking the English language.

 

Be gentle with yourself. No one masters any language over night. Slow down the process. Take your time reading this blog post. Jot down notes. Study the notes. Allow English-speaking fundamentals to slowly, surely and steadily seep into your mind. Effectively communicating concepts through your blog in a language other than your native language requires your effort, time and patience. Dive into this task with the proper frame of mind to walk a less bumpy, more enjoyable path.

 

5: Speak Videos in English with only Your Non Native Talking Head

 

I know how scary this gets, even for native English speakers. But hands down, creating selfie videos is one of the quickest ways to become proficient in any language.

 

Sprint out of your comfort zone. Record a video of yourself speaking in English. 30 seconds. Or maybe 60 seconds. Upload to Facebook or Youtube for the world to see.

 

I am currently in Pedasi, Panama. My wife Kelli and I spoke to a local about the low water pressure in the house today but he spoke so quickly and unclear that neither of us understood him. Plus, we were conserving in Spanish and we are both non-native speakers of course. However, feeling uncomfortable by speaking Spanish while facing communication barriers gave us greater confidence for the next time we would hablo espanol.

 

Speaking English for your videos – live broadcasts and/or recorded videos – feels scary but instills confidence to take to your blog writing. Once you speak a language with greater clarity and confidence, writing in that language tends to feel easier because you organize words in your head more seamlessly and experience little pressure writing with no one else around.

 

Look to your fellow non-native English speaking blogging buddies for inspiration; watch non ESL bloggers speaking English via video for a confidence boost. If they can do it you can do it too.

 

Be gentle with yourself. Expect to stumble a bit. Allow self-conscious energies to arise and pass. Every non-native speaker struggles to speak on video at first because talking in a language outside of your native tongue challenges everyone, initially. However, practicing a little bit daily – or publishing a few videos weekly – does wonders for grasping English.

 

Observe as your confidence and clarity increases. Writing English feels easier if you speak English with greater confidence, clarity and calmness.

 

6: Write 1,000 Words in English Daily for Practice

 

Write 1,000 words daily for practice:

 

 

This practice gives you clarity in your writing, allows your voice to surface and helps you cultivate the art of detachment about your writing.

 

Expect to write more crisply in English too. Like KFC’s super secret recipe (Note the culture appropriate mention: I have literally seen KFC in all countries I’ve visited).

 

Critical Writing Tip

 

ESL bloggers scouring for various writing tips need look no further than following this simple writing tip. Write. Write a lot. Practice writing to become clear, confident and calm about your writing. ESL inner critics try long and hard to frustrate you from writing in English.

 

Often, bloggers – ESL or not – are their own worst enemy. Writing daily polishes your skills, improves your confidence and accomplishes what 5 or 10 other writing tips simply cannot do for you.

 

Do not overthink it; write. Writing for practice every single day is the only writing tip you need to follow in order to become a confident ESL blogger who writes with conviction.

 

Bus Colombo Sri Lanka

Bus Colombo Sri Lanka

 

Do not let yourself off of the hook. Write daily to become a skilled writer and clear blogger, silencing your inner writing critic in the process.

 

7: Have FUN with the English Learning Process

 

Have fun with the process of learning English.

 

Enjoy the experience. Fall in love with writing and speaking and reading English.

 

Remember why you decided to blog as an ESL blogger; being able to communicate with a bigger global audience lets you:

 

  • make more friends
  • serve more people
  • grow a bigger blogging business

 

Relax. Slow down. Calm down. Enjoy the process of becoming a skilled blogger who communicates fluently in the English language.

 

Stop Criticizing Yourself to Dissolve Language Self-Consciousness

 

Stop picking yourself apart for having the courage, clarity and confidence to blog in English. Quit criticizing yourself to dissolve language self-consciousness. Read inspiring stories of successful people who learned English as a second language. Turn your self-criticism into self-love by admiring people who traveled a similar uncomfortable, freeing but sometimes scary path. If they did it you will do it too. Relax.

 

Have fun by enjoying the process of writing and speaking in a foreign language to silence the inner writing critic skewering your best efforts. Observe how much you have grown as a:

 

  • blogger
  • writer
  • communicator

 

to accelerate your blogging growth and to enjoy the process of writing and speaking fluent English.

 

8: Commit 100% to Being Comfortable with Writing and Speaking English

 

Don’t cop out on discovering how to blog as a non native English speaker.

 

Don’t wuss out.

 

Commit to writing and speaking English.

 

I recall living in a remote Costa Rican jungle for 6 weeks last year. I spoke English with Kelli. For the remainder of those 6 weeks, I spoke Spanish. I was all in. Uncomfortable as hell at times but it made me a more proficient Spanish speaker.

 

Think of the doors you will open by getting comfy with speaking and writing in English. It is THE bridge-building language. Commit. Rock it out.

 

Committing to communicating clear in a language other than your native tongue nudges you into uncomfortable situations. Know how success sits outside of your comfort zone. Being all in demands you to sit with fears arising as you chat with native English speakers via:

 

  • Zoom
  • email
  • social media
  • blog comments

 

Don’t worry; fear-feelings pass. Let go comfort. Become clear, confident and experience greater worldly blogging success. Commit to getting comfortable with writing and speaking in English.

 

Your Blogging Turn

 

How are you working on your English as a non-native speaker?

 

What tips can you add to this list?

 

What struggles can you share as a non-native English speaking blogger?

 

How did you conquer these obstacles?

 

Blogging Resources

 

Do you need blogging help?

 

Check out my blogging courses and eBooks:

 

  1. Ryan Biddulph says:
    at 10:11 pm

    I left a thought.

  2. Kenny Lee says:
    at 10:45 pm

    Great tips. I am a non native English speaker who start blogging a year ago. My first post was a meagre 150 words. I did some of what you suggested.

    But I also want to add on that we need to think our thoughts in English. This habit will make the writing process smoother.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 11:11 pm

      Hi Kenny,

      Good for you dude. Awesome stuff.

      I admire you for diving in, writing and growing.

      Super add here; we often think thoughts in our native tongue, then translate. I do this in Spanish much of the time. Think thoughts in English to cut through language specific nuances and to smooth out your writing.

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      Ryan

  3. Mi Muba says:
    at 1:00 am

    Hi Ryan

    Just tried tip 4 before commenting and feeling awesome. What a great idea.

    If one tip worked that much successfully in no time what about rest of them. These are not just tips but the gist of your experience interacting with non-native speakers while hopping island to island.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 5:07 am

      Hi Mi,

      Yes that’s my fun tip πŸ˜‰

      Ryan

  4. Adeel Sami says:
    at 1:15 am

    Hey, Ryan!

    Once again the great work you did, buddy! πŸ™‚

    You know I am from the non-native English speaking country and I live in the village where even my mother and national language, Urdu is not spoken.

    Then you can imagine how come the English language can ever be taught or spoke in my locality?

    It is… never.

    Schools are out of English.

    But the best source I found was the internet to learn the English and practice.

    Even reach to the English speaking great folks like you to learn and present what I knew and what I learned. And still the process is on the flow.

    Yeah… writing without thinking can give a good boost to practice.

    Worrying about grammar will not yield the result.

    You’ll be cautious every time you write and will end up writing just a few lines and correcting the grammar the whole time.

    Keep the flow going is the best method to learn the English language.

    Some tools can give you a good edge to correct the obvious grammatical errors, like Grammarly, but keep writing even if it spots the errors.

    And correct them when you’re done.

    SO, great work done! πŸ™‚

    ~ Adeel

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 5:06 am

      Hi Adeel,

      Urdu? Really neat. I heard of that language a few times; seriously, I think I first heard of it in a movie I saw once.

      Good advice on not stopping to correct. Let it flow. Like Emerson said; all life is an experiment….the more experiments, the better.

      No need being cautious or no need to write like a fraidy cat. Let it ride! Write, be in the flow, and your writing will improve over time. Edit mildly. Write liberally.

      Thanks for the inspired comment πŸ™‚

      Ryan

  5. Elvis Michael says:
    at 5:40 pm

    Confession: Spanish is my first language.

    I used to always write down English words i didnt know. Whether i read them or heard them on TV, I would keep tabs and look up their meaning. Soon I found myself not only learning conversational/everyday English, but I was incorporating semi-fancy terms here and there as well.

    It all adds up! This is especially easy nowadays thanks to your smartphone and a virtual dictionary that’s available wherever you go. Leverage these seemingly simple conveniences, you won’t regret it πŸ™‚

    Excellent tips, Ryan. Each and every single one of them.

    Hay ayy ayyy, i’m out.
    Lol.

    Elvis

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 1:41 am

      Hi Elvis,

      Jajajajajaja πŸ˜‰

      I like that strategy too; writing down words from your non-native tongue and researching does wonders for your ability to retain these words. Kelli and I did this today at the Thai Buddhist veggie restaurant. We Googled words for “rice”, “70” and “90”. Before the numbers sound too weird, we usually pay 70 baht or 90 baht for our lunch, depending on if we add a bag of 20 baht mushrooms. Amazing how a smartphone and Google search audio give us powerful tools for in the moment translations.

      Thanks much!

      Ryan

  6. Lisa Kalner Williams says:
    at 9:30 am

    I’m a native English speaker and I learned a lot of Portuguese by reading a kids comic book series called Monica — it’s kind of like Peanuts. It really helped me with colloquial expressions and exclamations. Plus I got to be immersed in something that almost every Brazilian grew up with.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 2:04 am

      Hi Lisa,

      Cool add; I imagine reading children’s level language when new to a different tongue is immersive without being overwhelming. Especially if adults speak rapid fire or garble their words. I encountered this when living in Granada, Nicaragua. Had no clue in hell what Nicas were saying; different Spanish versus that spoken by neighboring Ticos in Costa Rica. Maybe I should have read a few Nica coloring books before the tip πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for sharing Lisa.

      Ryan

  7. Arti says:
    at 10:24 am

    Done great tips there Ryan. Will definitely try a few out next time!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 10:36 am

      Thanks much for reading and sharing Arti.

      Ryan

  8. Eniola Samuel says:
    at 1:06 pm

    This is surprisingly great. I do have troubles trying to write in English and to make it pass meaning to the readers.

    I got over it after some years of consistent work and I am happy I didn’t stop.

    I never expected you could feel the pain of being a non English speaker.

    I am more than happy to adopt these methods and I hope to improve immensely after this.

    Thanks for taking your time to share this!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 2:28 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing Eniola. You are doing an excellent job with your writing, your voice and your blogging campaign. Good for you; trudging forward through those uncomfortable periods of struggles with English. I know what speaking non-native languages feels like, especially here in Panama where I speak Spanish most of the time, to communicate. Blogging, writing and communicating as an ESL blogger impresses me deeply. Keep on inspiring brother.

      Ryan

  9. Anthony Gaenzle says:
    at 1:27 pm

    I applaud anyone who can write (and speak) in multiple languages. It’s on my to do list, but just haven’t moved it to the top yet. I want to show a global perspective on marketing on my blog, and thus people contribute from all around the globe. The content is always great, but there are issues sometimes with grammar. So…in wanting to make sure the voices on my site are as diverse as possible and to include a huge range of talented folks, I am more than willing to do some editing. I think it’s helpful, also, for writers to see the edits and they can take those are tips for future posts. Hopefully one day I will be able to contribute a post to a non-English speaking blog!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 2:23 pm

      I have noticed that aspect about your guest bloggers Anthony. What a rich global community you have sharing valued content for you. Ditto, on the edits, at least when guest posting was open on my blog. I had to spiffy things up but only a tiny bit. I love blogging for an international community. We help bring the world together as all of us diversify our audiences, guest blogger pools and blogging buddy networks. I deeply admire ESL bloggers too because even speaking a language not aligned with your native tongue feels uncomfortable. Blogging in that non-native language takes things up 10 notches.

      Ryan

  10. Uzaik SOHAIL says:
    at 2:36 am

    What a great idea.

    If one tip worked that much successfully in no time what about rest of them. These are not just tips but the gist of your experience interacting with non-native speakers while hopping island to island.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 8:58 am

      Keen point Uzaik. Being successful is not about following one tip but many. My pleasure buddy. See you soon.

      Ryan

  11. Eric Cole says:
    at 8:31 pm

    Ryan, Great tips. I am getting ready to learn Latin and picked up The Hobbit in Latin to read alongside my English edition. I’ve heard people get great results with that strategy. There’s a Harry Potter Book 1 in French waiting on my bookshelf, too. Latin first.

    I do appreciate reading the blogs and comments by ESL writers. For some I am sure there is discomfort,fear, or insecurity getting triggered. I know I would have to face a period of being uncomfortable if I were in their shoes. Pretty sure I won’t be blogging in Latin anytime soon.

    We have so much we can learn from each other.

    Eric

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 10:25 pm

      Latin? How incredibly neat. I recall my dad noting how when he was a kid, Catholic priests sometimes said mass in Latin. What a classic language. I am sure you will enjoy the process and learn even more about yourself. I too appreciate the commitment of ESL bloggers. Here I am in rural Panama leaving my comfort zone to converse with locals in Spanish. Bloggers write-blog in their non-native tongue, taking things up 10 more notches. We really do have much to learn from one another. What a fascinating journey.

      Ryan

  12. Harshit kukreja says:
    at 1:53 am

    One more thing that can help to improve in English which is ” read the newspaper daily in English that is really helpful and you can get the result in a month. And this article is really helpful read it carefully.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 9:05 am

      Good add here Harshit. Reading anything in English allows you to get comfortable with the English language, augmenting your blogging campaign.

  13. Webbie says:
    at 5:04 am

    Nice to see your another post Ryan, your thoughts are always different.

  14. Zain Malik says:
    at 3:31 am

    Great blog and surely it will help many people to grow and get the exact pronounciation knowledge.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 9:02 am

      Zain much appreciated πŸ™‚

  15. Francesco says:
    at 11:39 am

    Can’t believe I didn’t know this blog post even existed so far. That’s exactly what I was looking for Ryan. Thanks a lot for proving super useful insights, especially what you share about keeping the right attitude and building confidence over time. It’s true that we always tend to think we’re doing worse than what we actually are, instead of focusing on the learning process and our daily little improvements. I found it illuminating, I thank you for that.

    Big CIAO from a fellow Italian blogger currently based in Lisbon πŸ™‚

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 12:38 pm

      Francesco it looks like you are doing great my friend. Ultimately, it is just practicing your writing and keeping at it for a long time until you gain the confidence to know that you write skillfully in English. Based on your comment, you are doing an excellent job. Blogging is actually simple but it feels highly uncomfortable sometimes because we need to face our fears again and again on this long, sometimes challenging journey. Plus you need to be open to learning. I can see that you are open because you asked a question based on my Twitter question. Good for you. You will keep becoming more successful over the long haul for sure. I can see it already. Thanks so much for the comment and enjoy your time in beautiful Portugal. Ciao.

      Ryan

  16. Usie says:
    at 6:23 pm

    Good tips for non-native speakers here RB.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 7:36 pm

      Thanks much for reading.