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? I am SSL: Spanish Second Language. I learned the basics in high school. I got a mild real world experience speaking Spanish while living in Peru, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, in the ‘burbs, where gringos and English speaking Nicas and Ticos and Peruvians lurk…..then…….I spent 6 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.
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.
Follow these tips to grow a successful blog in English if you are a non-native English speaker.
1: Watch Netflix
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.
2: Read Fiction and Non-Fiction Novels
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.
- story telling
- mental picture-painting
- how to inject humor into your work
- how 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.
3: Follow Native-Speaking BUT Laid Back Bloggers
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.
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.
4: Toss Salt over Your Right Shoulder 3 Times Daily
Would love a visual on the Mount Everest high pile of salt over your right shoulder.
5: Create Videos with only Your Talking Head
Strap on a pair of Depends; 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. Send it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org so I can support you. You can speak like a hybrid of Captain Cavemen and Igoo the Rock Ape and I will laud you for having the balls to go through with this.
6: Write 1,000 Words Daily for Practice
Write 1,000 words daily for practice:
- open a Word document
- write about your day, or, about your blogging niche, or about what you learned from my dastardly diarrhea tale of vomitous and intestinal violence during a Burmese bus-ride
- trash the Word document after writing
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).
7: Have FUN with the Process
Have fun with the process of learning English.
Enjoy the experience. Fall in love with writing and speaking and reading English.
Takes the fear and pressure out of the process.
8: Commit 100% to Being Comfortable with Writing and Speaking English
Don’t cop out.
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.
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