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Thread: ESL writers and switching to writing in English

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  1. #1
    Writer of Words. Drinker of Teas. Moggo's Avatar
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    Mar 2018

    ESL writers and switching to writing in English

    I live in a country where the odds that you'll make a living as a writer are close to nil, doubly so if you write Fantasy and/or Science fiction. I was lucky enough to realize early on that I wouldn't get anywhere by writing in my own language and switched to writing almost exclusively in English (which is taught as a foreign language at school, so I already had the basics down). A couple of my RL acquaintances who are also aspiring writers did the same thing. Over the years I've seen those who held out become increasingly pessimistic. They lament that they weren't born in the UK or US, that the publishing industry here is what it is, say they love our native language but hate that they can't build a career on that love, think their dream is dead, have vowed to quit writing altogether or lost the motivation to do more of it, and so on and so forth.

    I guess what I'm asking for here is, how do I help them? Can I help them? The way I went about improving my English, it took me six years to get to a point where I'm reasonably certain I can properly string sentences together. Even now I'm still not sure I don't let wonky grammar slip into my text sometimes. "Look, you can totally write in English, it will only require a LOT of writing and a LOT of reading and spending years and years on that, writing and discarding, until you end up . . . average and riddled with self-doubt," isn't the most uplifting motivational speech you can give someone. So, if you are in the same boat, if you are ESL and at some point decided that writing in English was the way to go, how did that work out for you? Do you regret it? Are you happy with the level you're currently at? Do you have any advice that can ease or speed things up for someone who is about to start on this path? Was it hard to, in a sense, push aside the language you grew up speaking or didn't you even think about it in those terms? I'd love to have your thoughts on this, no matter what your experience was like. Thank you in advance
    Last edited by Moggo; 05-13-2018 at 03:48 PM.
    Twitter for Stuff About My Writing: @ambarvslooten

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