Best Creative ESL Writing Activities for Foreign Students

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It is not possible to become an outstanding writer without any effort, especially if you have to write in English when it’s your second language. However, there are ways of practicing and improving your writing and English skills that are fun and that do not require much effort, as all you need is the desire to improve and probably a bit of discipline. If you want to become a better writer even though English is not your native language, check out these tips.

A natural one: texting

Making a practice casual is the key to success in it. If you want to improve your writing skills, the easiest way to do it is to integrate it into your habits or everyday routine. The thing that can help you is focusing on the way you communicate with your friends and peers. Since the internet became an inseparable part of contemporary life, you can find benefits in it and use it to improve your writing skills. The first thing to do is to at least stop using emojis instead of words. It seems to be a universal language but in fact, apart from limiting your own emotions to a set of categories you can choose from, emojis take up your writing practice time.

The next level of complication is turning off the auto correction on your phone. You will need to communicate in complete words and spell them by yourself. Although it may take longer, you will become more mindful of the way you express your thoughts in written form.

An odd one: also texting

This is another writing activity you can practice while talking to your friends. However, it may seem even odder to your friends than the previous one. Try texting with your friends in complete sentences and proper syntax. Yes, it is a different linguistic register, but it will make your brain look better. Instead of writing two words per message, express your thoughts and reactions with complete and even complex sentences and do not forget about full stops (it will not look passive-aggressive if you capitalize the first letter). This activity works as follows: because it is a different way of doing something you are used to, you put more effort into the action you usually do automatically and your brain focuses on it closer. As a result, you become a more expressive writer without noticing it.

A popular one: mind-mapping

It is more of a creativity-boosting exercise you can try with different kinds of tasks, and learning how to write well is not an exception. The point of mind mapping is to find interesting perspectives or cross-discipline connections in what you work with.

To make a mind map, you need a sheet of paper and a pen. First, write your topic or the main idea you want to deliver in your text. The main idea gives rise to several major ideas, each of which, in turn, develops. Expand the emerging connections with narrow specifications. Then, try finding the logical connections inductively: how a seemingly unrelated specific idea ties with the main one. Eventually, you will see that every smaller thought is connected with the initial topic, and it will give you a fresh view of what you need to write.

A time-consuming one: prompts

This is a practice that may require a particular place on your to-do list or schedule. It is one you should make time for and focus on. However, it will not feel like hard work. This is an activity of writing with prompts. You can find plenty of writing prompts online. Unlike specific essay instructions from your professor, they are short, generic, down-to-earth, and nobody will evaluate your text. These prompts usually ask you to write about your day, family, memories, or attitude towards something.

The point of such writing is to develop your skills in expressing your ideas and generally being able to elaborate on any topic. If you do not want to search for specific tasks, you can do freewriting. Try to remember something from your day and elaborate on it in any form, such as a story about the dog you saw or how weird microwaving fish in the office is for you.

A passive one: reading

It is much easier for you to express your thoughts in writing if you have a habit of reading. It enriches your vocabulary and develops your taste in terms of writing style and genre diversity. Today, you can choose among plenty of literary schools or find something scientific on the topics that interest you. We cannot stress enough that reading is much better for your brain than watching the same story as a movie or series. The difference is when you watch a video, your brain works just like that: you look at something and perceive what you see. However, when you read, your brain engages in the same processes at a higher level, such as when you are thinking or solving a problem.

So, apart from the fun you will have reading and the ability to say, “The book is better than the film,” you will also improve your writing skills without noticing it.

A stressful one: peer-reviews

Whether you are a perfectionist or not, it is always difficult to take criticism and respond to it in the right way. Paradoxically, if no one criticizes your work, you cannot improve because you do not know whether it is right or wrong and good or bad. The feedback from your professor is, in fact, very valuable, as he or she will not only point out what to improve but also give you the direction of how to do it.

However, you cannot receive your professor’s comments before the submission, so the best solution is to show your peers or classmates what you wrote. It is not as stressful as showing it to somebody who grades you, and also it is a good opportunity to get a compliment: your friend will probably sugar-coat his or her response. Nonetheless, he or she usually wishes the best for you, which is why he or she will help you write better.

A scrupulous one: guides

It is probably the most boring activity we offer, but to write well, you need to practice it as well. You cannot write anything if you do not know how to do it and what the final purpose of your text is. So, before starting to work on any assignment, take a few minutes and check what writing guides suggest to you. For example, if you receive a new type of essay to write, you need to know how it differs from all the other ones and how to make this difference stand out and work towards the purpose of the assignment.

The same principle applies to instructions you receive from your professor. Usually, if you read the instructions carefully enough, you will learn how to complete the assignment because they are detailed and specific. Eventually, you will not need to consult guides every time you write something but it is necessary when you learn.

A pricy one: professional assistance

If you need a well-written essay and do not have time to read guides, research, and work on your creative inspiration, there is always an essay writing service to help you professionally. A custom writing service will complete an exemplary essay on your specific topic in the academic style you choose and within a deadline that may seem impossible. Another benefit is that the work you purchase there can also be material for learning or an example of how to structure your writing. Even if it seems lazy, you can always find a way to improve your own texts with the help of a writing service.

It is up to you to choose which activity to use and how much time to spend on it, so the best way to find out what suits you is to try each. Clearly, all of them work better when combined. However, most of them are not extraordinary, so you can do them along with working on your homework or on your way in public transport.

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