How to write well

This page gives language learners advice in how to write well in English.


Writing is a skill like every other skill. It is learned and improved by following the advice of good teachers and by regular practice. This article will give you the basic information you need to become a better writer, starting from today.

Learn from good writers

A very good way to improve your own writing is to read other people's. If you read plenty of good English fiction, you will learn how skilful writers create interesting and believable characters, develop plot, explore a theme, and so on.

If you read effective non-fiction you will learn how good writers present information in an interesting and organized way. You will also learn how they use language to instruct, move, entertain or persuade.

@ Reading lots of books can also help your writing in a more general way. This is because all the time you are reading, you are learning different aspects of English. ~

For example, you are learning new words and expressions to use in your own writing, and at the same time you are improving your ability to spell correctly. You are also learning English grammar; particularly if you read with an awareness of language and how writers express themselves.

Practise your writing

You can improve your writing, like any other skill, by practising it. Of course, you have to do many different kinds of writing for your subject teachers. But you could try to write something extra at least once or twice a week. Here are some ideas:

  • write regularly in a journal or diary (click the button below for ideas)
  • write contributions for one of the student magazines at your school, e.g.
    • write an imaginative story
    • describe a beautiful place you visited on vacation, or an interesting person you met
    • explain how to play a popular game from your country
    • do a review of a book , film or a piece of music
    • write about an experience you will never forget
  • correspond with a pen friend by email or "snail-mail"
  • write some pages for publishing on the internet (tips on how to write for the web)
  • participate in an English-language social site
  • do one of the writing exercises on this site

Here are some ideas for a reflective journal about school:

  • a time in subject class when you felt really good about yourself
  • a time in subject class that you felt embarrassed because of your lack of English
  • a task or piece of work that you found very hard and why
  • subjects you find difficult or teachers you find difficult to understand
  • your thoughts about homework, quizzes and tests
  • what you think about grades for ESL students
  • what it feels like to be an ESL student in school
  • how your new school is different from your last one
  • what you do to try and improve your 4 language skills
  • ways that you have of learning vocabulary and grammar
  • what you find most difficult about learning English
  • suggestions for ESL lesson activities

You could also write about general things such as:

  • your family
  • your hobbies and after-school or weekend activities
  • trips you go on with your family or friends
  • holidays
  • birthdays
  • books you have read
  • films you have seen
  • a comparison of Germany and your country
  • your thoughts on school and how things are done
  • your reactions to events in the news
  • your thoughts on controversial topics
  • - any other topic under the sun

Use the writing process

The writing process is the name for the series of steps that you should follow when doing longer pieces of writing for your subject teachers. For example, an analysis of the causes of World War 1 for your history teacher. Here is a detailed explanation of the five stages of the writing process.


One piece of advice made above is so important that I will repeat it here. Namely, @@ if you read a lot of good writing, this will not only help you improve as a writer in an interesting and enjoyable way, but also teach you a lot about the world and its people. ~~