Blogmas is happening … But on my other blog!

Hi and welcome to my new followers!

I have two blogs under this account. This one is my business blog, and I talk about all things related to language learning, business English, communication, grammar and vocabulary. If that’s what you’re looking for, welcome and I hope you enjoy the blog!

I also have a second blog, which is for my hobbies – beauty, skincare, travel, anomals and other things that interest me. If this is more your thing, head over to Unseen Beauty, where I will also be doing Blogmas this year.

Whether you follow one or both of the blogs, I hope you enjoy them. Stop by to say “hi” some time – I enjoy hearing from my readers!


Do all teachers and language service providers work from home?

Even before I started working for myself, working from home was a bit of a treat! Apart from the 3 hours of life I got back each day because I didn’t have to commute into London, I always found that I got more done. There was nobody to distract me with their loud conversations at the end of my desk because I happened to sit near the meeting room. I could just focus on what I was doing. I was in charge of the room temperature, so I didn’t need to remember to take a jacket in the middle of summer. I could get a coffee without having to queue!

Of course, there were some benefits to working in an office with others. I had someone to talk to if I wanted a second opinion, or to have a chat. When a colleague was pregnant and having chocolate cravings, I munched through a variety of bars with her – to show support of course! When it was Christmas, we made the office look nice and organised meals out or secret Santa. In fact, I could usually be relied upon to get involved in after-work activities.

But it’s not always positive. You might be sitting with people who don’t talk to you all day long, or who sing – yes sing – and you have to ask them not to because you can’t hear the other half of the telephone conversation that you’re trying to have.

To be honest, I didn’t mind when there were just seven or eight of us in one room, but when we moved to the big open-plan offices that held around 100 desks in each room, I hated it and seized any opportunity I could to work from home.

So now I work with customers online from the warmth and comfort of my own office and I love it.

When the rain is pouring, the trains are all cancelled, or snow has brought everything to a standstill – I don’t have to worry about how I’ll get to or from work.

You wouldn’t be able to entice me out of my cosy office to go and work in a shared space. However, I wanted to be objective in this post, so I’ve also included some quotes from teachers who do things differently.

Questions to ask yourself

If you’re thinking about becoming a freelance teacher, here are a few things to ask yourself.

1. Do you have a quiet place where you can work?

It’s easy for me because I have an office at home. We set this room up as my working space and nobody disturbs me here. I have good wifi and everything I need is here. However, if you don’t have that at home and you’re sharing the space with others, you might prefer to work somewhere else. Also, working from home may not be for you if you want to have a very clear, physical boundary between home and work life.

2. Do you want people in your home?

This isn’t an issue for me because all of my training takes place online. However, if you’re providing face-to-face training, do you want customers to come to your home? To be honest, I’d have no problem with any of my current customers coming here, but you don’t know what someone is like until you’ve met them, and I have had to sack one male student for being inappropriate. I’d prefer not to be dealing with something like that in my own home.

3. Do you miss having people around you?

For me, one of the nicest things about my home office is the lack of other people in it, but some people hate not being around other people. Of course I work with my customers in meetings, but I’m talking about the general energy that comes from working in a space with others. For some people it’s stimulating and motivating, whereas for others, it’s draining. Where do you fall on that scale? Would you get lonely if you didn’t have any face-to-face contact with people?

4. How easy is it for people to get to you?

Again, this isn’t an issue for me because all of my training is online, but if you live far away from anywhere and have no reliable public transport links, it may be easier for you to rent a base that is more accessible to anyone coming to meet you there.

5. How easily will you get distracted?

To be honest, I might stick a load of washing on in my lunch break, and I love the fact that working from home means I’m there for whenever my friend the postman comes (online shopping is one of my hobbies!) However, I can focus on what I’m doing without getting distracted by the home-related things around me. If you would struggle with this, maybe a separate space would be better for you.

What are your options?

Most teachers do one or more of the following:

1. Teach exclusively from home and only work with customers online. This is the option that works best for me.
2. Teach at home and customers come for face-to-face training.
3. Teach at the customer’s office/home – this means you don’t have to work from your own home, but it does take more time and may be more expensive when you add in the travel. I know teachers who complain about the time they waste in this way, whereas others enjoy the travel time because it gives them the chance to clear their head and get some exercise.
4. Rent an office and either teach online from there, or invite customers to come for lessons there. This can be more expensive, but it does give you a base that is separate from your home. If you’re in the office on your own, it might not solve the problem of socialising with other people, unless you have something like a shared kitchen area.
5. Rent a desk in a shared space with other freelancers. This is probably cheaper than renting your own office and it gives you the feeling of working with others, even though you’re not working for the same company. You have other people to talk to, and maybe some of them will be possible collaboration partners, but you don’t have anywhere for private meetings with customers unless there is an additional meeting room.
6. Work in a public area such as a library or a café. You have free wifi, no rent costs, but factors such as background noise are out of your control.

Which of these set-ups would you prefer?

I didn’t want this to be too one-sided, so I asked a couple of other teachers to share their experiences as well.

Cara

I decided not to work from home because I was getting fed up of the distractions in my house – mess, washing up to do, decluttering I wanted to do. It made me far too sensitive to all the things that needed doing at home, which I hadn’t necessarily noticed before.

Also, some weeks I hardly left the house because we mostly stayed in during the weekend. I think I was starting to get cabin fever.

I also wanted somewhere I could go that was dedicated to work. I have an office at home, which I still use sometimes if I have classes or just feel like staying at home. But I like going somewhere where everyone else is working. It’s a chance to meet people and also get a bit of visibility. Our place is open to the public – anyone can come in off the street and say hello.

Our workplace is a former laundrette that became a non-profit in 2012. It was set up by a local comic book writer, Maxime Peroz, who wanted to create a space for comic book writers and creatives (graphic designers, illustrators, writers etc) to get out of their isolation and come and work together.

We each have a desk in a big room there’s 6 of us altogether. There’s a kitchen at the back and a mezzanine level above with a bed because we sometimes have artists in residence stay here for anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

Because the space is run by a voluntary organisation and not a private company, it’s pretty cheap compared to other co-working spaces where you have to pay 50€ a day. I pay 115€ a month so it’s a small price in comparison.

A big advantage is that you separate your work and home life better. You get out and meet new people. It also opens up possibilities for collaboration. I recently got one of my colleagues to create a poster for me for a workshop I’m giving in town. As my other colleagues work in communication/comic book illustration, we’ve also talked about me maybe doing some translation work for them when the time comes.

I also like being able to say to people, especially locally, that I’m based here, rather than giving out my home address. I think it helps me to come across as a real business, not just someone behind a computer at home.

Also, I don’t think renting a space has to be expensive or complicated. You could find some other local entrepreneurs who want to get out of their house and find a place to rent together.

You can find out more about Cara and her work on her website, Leo Listening.

Gordon

It’s a rainy and cold Monday morning here in Fukuoka, Japan. I’m happily working from home. I don’t have to bundle up and crowd onto a bus or train full of wet and cold people sniffling, sneezing, and sharing their colds. My wife is getting bundled up and dreading the commute to work as I write this article.

However, working from home isn’t always as good as it sounds. Have you ever been stuck in the office and just wanted to get outside in the sunshine? Have you ever wanted someone to chat with and discuss an idea in your head? Have you ever been distracted by all the little things that need to be done around you? Have you ever just wanted to turn everything off and get away? These are hard to do when you work at home. I can see into the kitchen and the dishes that need to be done. I can see the dusty floor that needs to be vacuumed. Sometimes when I’m working, I can hear my wife snoring or watching TV. Or, I’m up early or late and working and she can’t find peace and quiet in the house. She often leaves the apartment for a few hours when I’m in the middle of running several online sessions in a row.

To deal with this, I intentionally work outside the home a couple of days a week. Also, We are looking for a new apartment or a local space to rent: something close but separate. I like the variety. I like the change of pace and place. I like meeting people face-to-face and shaking hands. I like running into friends around town. I like riding my bike across town to run lessons at a local client’s place of business. I like the exercise, the socializing, and getting outside into the fresh air and warm sun on my face. I like shutting everything off, shutting the door, and walking away from work. That “the day is finished and it’s time to go home” feeling is nice.

Whether you work from home or a traditional office, you have the same challenges. You have to manage your schedule effectively. Find a place and time to concentrate and work. Find time to exercise. Find time to socialize. Find people to talk to and share ideas. Find time to shut off and relax. I don’t know how my sister in law manages to work from home and run a family. I’d go crazy with all the distractions and kids running around. But, even she goes out to meet clients. I understand why some of my friends rent shared spaces. Despite the costs, it keeps them sane, productive, and out of their spouse’s hair.

You can find out more about Gordon and his work on his website Learn While Creating.

Ruth

With face to face teaching, I have worked in public places, our library was the best and preferred by my students for its central location. I often cater for working travellers/backpackers and my personal location can be difficult if they are working it around long days. Hence a local central place.Also, it is free, has quiet spaces, free WiFi, and Any resource you could need.

I did this in Cambridge too. Another hidden advantage was it got me out of the house!

You can find out more about Ruth and her work on her website English Language Services.

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Kirsty working with students

Also, if you’re interested in posts for teachers, you can see my other articles about teaching English and running an online language teaching business on my page for teachers.


How to end conversations with difficult callers

We’ve all been there. You’ve got loads to do and there’s someone on the phone who just won’t stop talking. It’s annoying. You hope they’ll stop, but then they seem to get more energy from somewhere and just as you’re trying to think of some polite way to end the conversation, they start talking again!

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I’ve invented really important meetings or places that I had to be just so that I could get rid of someone on the phone. I didn’t even feel bad about it because if I hadn’t, I might still have been there half an hour later. Still, you can’t always do things like this, particularly if you’re in a customer-facing role and part of your job involves talking to people on the telephone.

So what can you do? Here are some ideas.

1. Be clear about what you’re going to do

Usually a customer is calling because they need something, such as information, they’re not happy with something, or they have a problem. Maybe you can fix the problem straight away, in which case you’ll have a happy customer. If you can’t, and there’s something else that you need to do, there’s no point talking about it endlessly once you’ve got the information you need to carry out the next step.

However, if the other person is angry, they might want to have their rant. You may not be the first person that they’ve spoken to. They might not be convinced that their problem is being taken seriously.

The important thing here is to be clear about what the next step will be, when they will be contacted, or whom you need to speak to in order to get things sorted out.

Useful vocabulary
I’ve taken down details of the problem and I need to speak to … to find out what has happened.
I need to pass this on to the … department so that a colleague can look into this.
Can I take your details please so that I can contact you when I’ve …
I can’t answer your question now, but I will be in touch again once I have …
I’ve logged the problem on our system and you will be contacted when/you should hear back within … days/hours.

2. The person who keeps repeating themselves

Some people really struggle to keep things short and simple. If someone is staying on the line and rambling on, giving you information that you already had 10 minutes ago, a good thing to do is to sumarise what you know and ask if anything is missing once you’ve finished. This shows that you were indeed listening the first time and that you have all the relevant information.

Useful vocabulary:
So just to be clear. You said that …
So, basically the problem is that …
So you need to know …
So you would like us to …

3. The person who wants to tell you their life story

Some people do just feel lonely and want someone to talk to, even if it’s an unknown person at the end of the telephone. Unfortunately that doesn’t help you when you have a queue of other customers waiting for your attention, or a long to-do-list that needs to be finished before you go home.

If someone is giving you a lot of unnecessary information, a good thing to do is to take control of the direction of the conversation by asking specific questions that will guarantee you get the information that you need.

Useful vocabulary:
So what exactly did the error message say?
When did this happen?
What exactly would you like to know?
Which store did you visit?
Can you please explain what exactly is wrong with the product?

Sometimes people do just need to talk so that they can get all the information out, but other times people need prompting to get down to what really matters. They will need to stop to breathe at some point, and that could be a good time for you to ask one of your questions!

Once you’ve got the information that you need, if the person keeps talking about the same thing, you can say what you’re going to do, then ask if there is anything else that you can help with. The emphasis here is on anything else –you’ve covered the thing they were talking about, so if there’s nothing else you can help them with, then the conversation can end.

4. The aggressive or inappropriate customer

Different companies have their own policies about when it’s appropriate for employees to end the conversation. I’ve worked in situations where it was perfectly acceptable to say that you were going to end the call if the customer became abusive, aggressive, discriminatory, threatening, or in some way inappropriate. Check out your company’s guidelines, but if you are going to end the call, you can use phrases like:

If you continue to …. I’m going to end this call.
I’m doing what I can to help you, but if you speak to me like that again, I will end this call.

5. When the answer is “no”

Sometimes the customer isn’t “always right” and the answer is simply “no”! You can’t do what they want you to do. Maybe your company doesn’t offer that product or service. Maybe it’s against the company guidelines. Maybe the request is just unreasonable like “I want to speak with the Director right now!” As someone who used to work for a Director, you have no idea how many people think the Director should stop everything they’re doing just to fix someone’s problem.

In these cases it’s good to give a reason why you can’t do what they’re asking and to explain what you can do instead. However, sometimes, you just need to be polite, but clear that the answer is “no”!

6. Complaints

If the customer doesn’t like the fact that the answer is “no”, or they are generally unhappy with the service they’ve received, most companies have a complaints procedure.

Ideally it’s preferable to try and resolve the problem before it gets to the complaint stage. However, if you’ve exhausted all the options and this isn’t possible, the next best thing is to either log a complaint yourself or explain what the customer needs to do.

7. Timewasters and cold callers

I remember listening to a talk that said every time someone tries to take your attention away without asking or to get you involved in something that isn’t relevant to you, it’s about as polite as someone coming up to your desk and wheeling away your chair.

I’m not generally rude to sales cold callers, but it’s not in my or their interest to let them complete the whole pitch if I’m not going to be interested. So I usually tell them that I’m not interested in a … or I don’t need a … before they’ve wasted both my and their time with a long introduction about what it is that they want us to buy.

If you think someone has genuinely got the wrong number or is wasting your time, it’s good to explain briefly who your company is, what they offer, and ask if there is something you can help them with in relation to that. If you can help, great. If you can’t, you can explain

We don’t provide …
That’s not something that we deal with, but you could try …

8. Ending the conversation

Once you’ve explained what you’re going to do and checked that there is nothing else that the customer needs from you, there are some general phrases that show a conversation is coming to the end:

Thank you for your call today
I hope that has answered your question
I’ve logged your enquiry and someone will get back to you soon
Have a nice day!

More from English with Kirsty

If you’d like to know more about telephone communication, why not check out my article on “10 tips for effective communication on the telephone”>

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What is bonfire night

In the UK, 5th November is what we call bonfire night, fireworks night, or Guy Fawkes Night. Although the actual celebration is on 5th November, there are firework displays for a couple of weeks before and after – often at the weekend, but not necessarily.

the history

The origins go back to 1605, when a group of activists tried to blow up the Palace of Westminster during the state opening of Parliament. They failed because their plot was discovered, and ever since then, people have been celebrating the fact that the Houses of Parliament and the King, who in those days had a lot more power, were not blown up.

Guy Fawkes from York, and his fellow conspirators were angry at King James I because of issues around freedom to practise their religion in the way they wanted to. They rented a house close to the houses of Parliament, Into which they managed to smuggle 36 barrels of gunpowder.

However, their plot didn’t go according to plan because an anonymous letter was sent to the 4th Barron Monteagle, warning him not to go to the House of Lords for the opening of Parliament. The letter was made public, suspicions were aroused, and the search began for anyone or anything that might be a danger to the King and the Houses Of Parliament.

Fawkes, the explosives expert, was discovered because he had been left in the cellar to light the fuse. He was caught, arrested, and the arrests of the rest of the group followed. All of the conspirators either died in attempts to avoid arrest, or they were tried, convicted and executed like Guy Fawkes.

What happens today?

Today the celebrations are not really about the events of 1605, but a tradition has grown up around fireworks and November 5th. Some people go to big, organised firework displays, and others have fireworks in their garden. As a child, I remember having sparklers, a kind of hand-held firework that throws off very bright sparks as it burns.

People also build bonfires with old garden waste such as branches, and cook food, such as potatoes, in the fire.

Straw models of Guy Fawkes, or other unpopular figures (often politicians), are burned on the fires. The only place that doesn’t celebrate bonfire night is Guy Fawkes’ old school, St. Peters in York, because they don’t believe it’s right to burn a statue of one of their former pupils.

People have a lot of fun, but it’s also a busy night for the fire brigade and ambulance service because there are accidents involving fireworks, or fires get out of control. It can also be a stressful time for animals, such as dogs and cats, who don’t like all the loud noises.

There is a bonfire night rhyme too:
Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
We see no reason Why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot ….

If you want to know why I’m not a big fan of the fireworks, and also how you can help animals around November 5th if you’re in the UK, you can take a look at this post on my other blog.

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11 mistakes to avoid when pitching ideas

This post is about mistakes that people make when they are pitching ideas – whether it’s a blogger who wants to do some guest posts, or a company who wants to let people know about their new product or service.

I haven’t used any names, but all of these examples are messages that I have actually been sent as someone with a website, a blog, and an online business.

I want this post to be a bit light-hearted, because I don’t just want to go on a major rant, but I also want to have a look at the effect these things have on the person reading them. Let me know in the comments if you can add any more to this list!

1 but it’s free!

Here I’m not talking about freebies, sign-up bonuses or opt-in promotions that people use to encourage people to sign up to their site. There’s a reason to do that – you’re giving people added value and those people are already interested in your site.

I’m talking about books that are free for a specific period of time, limited-time trials of products or services, or things that are free for review.

Yes, it’s great that they are free, and everyone thinks their products and services are wonderful, but it’s only a good deal if the other person wanted that thing in the first place.

Making people aware of the free thing is fine, but coming back to people when they don’t want it and saying “but it’s free! Why don’t you want it!” looks a bit desperate! It’s better to spend the time and energy on people who do actually want, and who stand to benefit from it. There is so much free stuff out there nowadays, that being free isn’t enough if it doesn’t add value to a particular person.

2 I want a call with you!

Why?

I’m not talking about people who want to learn English – in fact I generally do have a call with them first to talk about what I can offer and how I can help them.

I’m talking about complete strangers who contact me on social media, ask for a call, and give me no idea as to what it’s about.

I know that some cultures place more value on building a relationship and don’t want to get straight down to business, but we’re all busy, and if I don’t have an idea what a meeting with a complete stranger is going to be about, I can’t make an informed decision about whether I want to attend, and I’m unlikely to say yes!

3 your website is rubbish

Well thank you! Aren’t I lucky that you’re here to save the day!

To be fair, nobody has actually said that my website or podcast are rubbish, but It’s implied with phrases like “your website doesn’t communicate your key message” or it “doesn’t reflect your values” or “you will never reach your potential audience”.

It’s obvious that SEO professionals, web designers and copy writers have to identify a need that they can fill, but saying that the current offering is not fit for purpose is unlikely to get a good response, unless you like to cash in on people feeling bad. Maybe someone does feel that their current set-up is terrible, but there are nicer ways to start the conversation like

Do you wish that you had someone who could help you with…?
Do you want to be better at …?
Is … something that frustrates you?

4 This service is for x so you need it too

These people have usually identified a niche, such as teachers, but they forget that there is diversity in the niche. It’s not that I expect them to know exactly who will be interested in their offer, but to tell me I definitely need something when it doesn’t fit my business model is kind of annoying. I don’t need an HR system because I don’t employ staff. I don’t need a new way for students to pay, because I’m happy with the one I have, and anyway who’s going to want to pay using a site that has no social proof? I don’t need an online calendar because I hate them!

Again, I don’t expect people to know what I want, but

Do you need …?
Is better than
Your business will fail unless you have …

I know this goes against some of the common marketing techniques that dredge up the worst emotional words that you can think of, but there are people in the world who don’t respond well to those tactics.

5 why didn’t you reply to my spam?

Oh yes, replying to spam is right there at the top of my to-do-list!

Of course people don’t think that their message was spam, but spam is unsolicited mail that you haven’t signed up to. Follow-up is fine, but 3 times in one week chasing someone who hasn’t even agreed to work with you is pushy.

6 You need a blog post on this obscure thing that nobody has ever heard of

Because my readers are going to love that and it really adds value to my audience!

Pitching guest ideas is fine. Pitching original or unusual ideas is also fine, as long as they fit with the site that you’re pitching. But if someone says “no”, you need to respect that. Also, the “no” is unlikely to miraculously become a “yes” if you try to start an argument about the fact that you know more about the obscure thing than the person who doesn’t want a post about it!

7 I haven’t read your content because using a standard template is easier

Ok, so I should take the time to reply to you, even though you haven’t done any research about me or my site. Sounds fair?

Recently someone has even been selling software that sends out a load of customised emails – sometimes not even that well customised (dear enter name here), in the hope that some of them will generate interest in guest content.

I think that’s really disrespectful.

I’ve even had people wanting me to pay them for guest-written posts that don’t fit in with what my site’s about!

It’s great to tell people that you enjoy their blog, but if you say “I enjoy every post you write and learn something every time”, it could apply to any number of educational sites. However, if you say “I particularly enjoyed your post on …” it at least shows that you’ve read one of them and it’s not just a standard message to many bloggers.

8 I know you only work online with adults, but why won’t you test our product for small groups of children?

There’s no harm in asking, but if someone says your product or service isn’t right for them, move on! Or are you the kind of person who goes into the shoe shop and complains that they don’t sell cabbages?

9 Podcast guests on shows that don’t take guests

I’ve had a couple of guests on the podcast, and I think in all cases I approached them to ask if they would do it. If a guest came up that would be a good fit, I’d be open to that too, but when people approach me because they want publicity for their new book, that has nothing to do with any of the topics I cover, that’s not adding value to my audience. A bit of research would show that, and also highlight some other podcasts that would be a much better fit.

10 you’re not using our app

This came up because of a discussion in a forum where someone was complaining about an email that said “You’re not using our app! Download it here!” The feeling was that it came across as bossy rather than helpful, and something like “did you know that we have an app?” would have come across better.

11

I’ll use your platform to post my advert
Because everyone goes to the trouble of building a platform and loyal following just so that they can give others free advertising. Even better if you’re offering exactly the same products or services as the person who owns the website! Don’t do it!

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Why is it on Christmas Day but at Christmas time

Ask the wise old owl

Wise Old Owl

Why do we say “On Christmas Day” but “at Christmas”?

Question: I learned that for days of the week, we use “on” – on Thursday etc. Why then do we have to say “at Christmas time”?

Those annoying prepositions!

When we’re talking about days, we use on:
on Thursday
on 23rd April
on Christmas Day
on Good Friday
On my birthday

However, if it’s a more general time, we use at:
at the beginning of August
at Christmas/at Christmas time
at Easter

If it’s a season or a month, we use in:
In June
In winter

If you say “I like to be with my family at Christmas time”, you’re talking about the holiday around Christmas, and not one specific date such as Christmas Day.
I like to eat mince pies at Christmas – this means the time around Christmas.

More articles in this series

If you want to read the rest of the articles in this series, go to the wise old owl’s main page.

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If your question is more specific and you would like one-to-one help, have a look at my lessons page.


Improve your written English by writing a blog

Improve your writing skills by starting a blog

Speaking and writing are two of those skills for which you need to be a bit more proactive. Sometimes you need to find a reason to speak or to write.

Even if you do have a reason to work on them, such as speaking with colleagues or writing emails, it’s great if you can develop your skills when you are not under pressure because of deadlines or your manager’s expectations. Then you can relax a bit more and allow yourself to be creative.

It’s true I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who loves to write. I have this blog, and also a beauty and lifestyle blog that I write in my free time. However, someone who doesn’t enjoy writing business emails might still enjoy writing about their favourite football team or what they’ve cooked recently. Sometimes you just need to find the write topic. Most people have ideas to share.

When my students are looking for ideas about what they can do to improve their English in their spare time, one of the things I suggest is writing a blog.

One of my students didn’t believe that people would blog in languages other than their native language, so I did a bit of research in a couple of blogging groups. I found out that people do indeed blog in other languages – for different reasons, ranging from improving their language skills to reaching a wider audience or keeping in touch with family members.

So, if you’re learning English, here are some reasons to set up a blog in English:

  1. It gives you a reason to write. If you’re writing about something that interests you, you’re more likely to do it.
  2. It makes you think about your words. This means you might have to spend some time working out how to put an idea into words in English. You might have to look words up in the dictionary, which is good for your vocabulary.
  3. You can reach a different, and perhaps bigger audience. You can communicate with English-speaking people all over the world using your blog.
  4. It’s a way to start conversations about topics that interest you because hopefully other people will read and comment on your posts.
  5. It’s a way to practice on your own, without other people in your class or your colleagues watching. Some people feel more confident about expressing their ideas in this way.
  6. It doesn’t have to be expensive – there are free blogging sites out there!
  7. If you have a teacher or a language exchange partner, you can ask for help or feedback about your writing and get suggestions for improvement based on real examples.

I know it takes courage to write in another language. I use German all the time at work, but rarely blog in German! However, when I think about all the other things I’ve done in German, such as commenting in forums or writing on social media sites, most of the time people were really supportive. Even though I have sometimes worried what people would think of my German, there were only a very few instances where people were unkind about it. You can read more of my thoughts on this subject in my what to do if people are unkind about your English post.

So, if you think that this sounds like an interesting idea, why not give it a go? Remember to leave the link to your new blog in the comments so we can check it out and support you.

In the meantime, here are 10 blogs on all kinds of subjects, written by people who don’t blog in their native language. I asked them five questions:

  1. What is your native language and in what language do you blog?
  2. Why did you decide to blog in another language?
  3. What would you say are the benefits of blogging in a language other than your native language?
  4. Have you experienced any language-related difficulties in relation to blogging, and if so, how have you overcome them?
  5. Where can we find you online?
  6. Here’s what I found out!

    1. Sazzy and Joanie

    Our native language is German and we are blogging in English. We wanted to share our interests, loves and experiences with as many people as possible and English being kind of like a world-language gives us the possibility to do so. Also, I just really love the English language and find it to be more ‘aesthetic’ than German.
    I love being able to engage with people from all over the world. Different cultures, different points of views. The opportunities the internet and language are giving us are insane! For example, we are really into watching English youtubers which is not a common thing to do in Germany – especially at our age (21). But it is elsewhere and by writing about our thoughts, we can talk to more people about our opinions. It’s nice being part of a bigger community and making friends all over the world.
    Obviously our English is not perfect. I study English linguistics at uni and J. has given me the task to proof-read her writing. I think I’m doing okay, but I am not a specialist after all. But it is fun, it is fun learning new words when you can’t think of them or learning how to express a certain saying in another language. However, sometimes I want to say something but I am unsure about whether people might think it is offensive or not. I am by no means a rude person but in different languages words have different connotations and that is why, whenever I am not sure about something, I tend to not write it down. But that is also part of being on the internet. So I don’t really overcome that difficulty but if something like that occurs, I usually start googling away to find out how to express myself the right way. Again, it’s a learning process, but I really enjoy it.
    Sazzy and Joanie from The Cozy Den.

    2. Julia

    I’m Polish and it’s my native language. I blog in English. I decided to do so because I feel that English blogs have a much wider audience as most people in the world can understand that. I’ve had views from many countries all over the world and I don’t think it would be possible if I was blogging in Polish. I think that English is the language that has the power to connect people anywhere in the world. I’m fluent in English so it’s my second nature but it doesn’t mean I don’t have any problems with it. Very often I lack the right vocabulary or my sentences get so tangled they don’t really make sense. I also cringe when I proof read myself for some reason. I use online dictionaries to help me or simply ask my English speaking boyfriend or friends for help. It makes it so much easier.
    Julia from The Glass of Class.

    3. Oriana

    This is a bit complicated, technically my native language is Spanish (my mother is Colombian), but I speak French way better and I live in France (my father is French). To blog, I use English only
    I decided to blog in English so every member of my family, either from Colombia and France, would be able to read my blog
    There are many benefits, especially with a blog in English because first : you can communicate with everyone in the world, even from a very different culture. Also, I wanted to improve my English a bit, and be sure that my skills wouldn’t decrease. Blogging in another language really helps, especially concerning the vocabulary !
    I always struggle when I start to write my posts, because I want to write my exact thoughts and I don’t always know how to say something in English. In the end I always have to look up a word into online dictionaries, or rewrite entire sentences because I couldn’t manage to say what I wanted. The worst is when there is no actual translation because of cultural differences… I try to adapt as I can but I’ve realized I made lots of mistakes afterwards !
    Oriana from Oriana’s Notes.

    4. Anca

    My native language is Romanian and my second language is English. I’m blogging in English.
    I moved to the UK and it was a simple choice for me as most of my friends from Romania are fluent in English.
    I’ve adapted my writing for an English audience. I would say that is an improvement as I developed my language skills. I also improved my grammar.
    For example “maybe it’s not the best x I ever had” = this is awful, bleah, horrible. In Romanian, “not the best” means it’s not the best, like average.
    Anca from Anca’s lifestyle & Cookstyle.

    5. Dinah

    My native language is German and I love to write columns and poems in English. I also collect lovely poems written by others, however I will always mention that those are not written by myself. I have published all these here on Facebook under “notes“ as well as on my own website. Sometimes I also use Instagram for writing down my thoughts in combination with pictures.
    Sometimes I’ve got that feeling that I can express my thoughts better in English than in German. Furthermore, I do it because of my enthusiasm referring practising and developing my English language skills. I love the sound of English.
    It’s perfect to get a feeling for the foreign language and as you have got more time to find the right words while writing in contrast to speaking, it’s more relaxed in my eyes.
    I am publishing in the hope to receiving questions from native speakers if anything would have been unclear to them. I am also open to corrections. A few sentences in columns of mine were a bit strange which I only realized years later, so I modified them (I think ;-)
    Dinah from Dinah’s World.

    6. Sebastian

    My native languages are Polish and Silesian, I’m blogging in English. I blog in English because I live, work and do business in the UK.
    It allows to improve communication skills. I also believe that it will give long time benefits as overall improvement of writing style. Writing in English also expose blog to international audience.
    Yes. I’m aware that my vocabulary and ability to use culturally specific expressions is limited. I don’t feel fully comfortable when I want to express myself and can use just subset of this rich language to do that. It is like attempt to play guitar with some strings missing. How to overcome that? A lot of practice. And reading others.
    Sebastian from Fashion but how?

    7. Azra

    My native language is Bosnian. I’m blogging in English, but recently I started writing in Bosnian as well, because most of my audience in Bosnia couldn’t understand English.
    I wanted everyone to enjoy and read my content. Also I really like English as a language, so I decided to improve my skills in writing and just practice more I guess.
    Blogging in English helps me reach more people around the world. It helps me to have large audience, followers from USA, UK etc.
    I’m still not the best with grammar, that was always a weak side of my English. I know vocabulary very well, but grammar is the problem. Still I think I’m doing a lot better than I used to.
    Azra from Simple Serenity.

    8. Lieze

    My native language is Dutch, my second language is French and I am blogging in English I am blogging in English because I am now living in the UK and because I am able to reach more people by blogging in English
    When I visit Belgium, I find that I have forgotten words, but I do not know all English words either
    Lieze from Lieze Neven and Glitter Rebel.

    9. Christian

    I speak Maltese & English. I blog in English because our main audience is in the UK and US
    It helps me develop my writing skills and opens up new opportunities not available in Malta
    Grammar and spelling aren’t perfect but is helped by using the Grammarly Chrome extension. I also sometimes don’t get some English expressions but the other people on the blog help explain them.
    Christian from Fullsync

    10. Shelley-Ann

    German is my native language and I blog in English. I blog in English because my viewers are mainly from the UK.,
    Blogging in English means more readers as many people speak English these days Words and the meanings can be difficult. I sometimes mix up words or can’t find the right word I’m looking for. Just expressing myself correctly is my main issue really
    Shelley-Anne from Shelley Morecroft.

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