8 Tips for Blogging in English for Non-Native Speakers

March 20, 2017 11 thoughts

 

Sail through English-speaking blogging waters smoothly. Snap of me cruising around Inle Lake, Myanmar during a recent tour.

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

You learn:

 

  • pace
  • flow
  • story telling
  • grammar
  • 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

 

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.

 

Read my blog posts. Read my eBooks. Listen to my audio books. Listen to or read my online courses.

 

From my current location in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

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: [email protected] 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:

 

 

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.

 

Purchase My eBook

 

Before you post a comment purchase my eBook to develop a winning blogging mindset:

 

Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger (Amazon eBook)

 

If you enjoyed the read please post a review on Amazon

 

Your Turn

 

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

 

 

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Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who's been featured on Richard Branson's Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, Life Hack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog with the 11 Fundamentals of Successful Blogging Audio Course.
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11 Comments

  1. 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

  2. Lisa Kalner Williams Says:

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Hi Mi,

    Yes that’s my fun tip πŸ˜‰

    Ryan

  6. 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

  7. Adeel Sami Says:

    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

  8. Mi Muba Says:

    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

  9. 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

  10. Kenny Lee Says:

    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.

  11. I left a thought.

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