Before You Search for Online Writing Jobs – Help for ESL Writers
These tips on how to find online writing jobs are specifically for English as a Second Language (ESL) writers. I wrote this article for a reader who asked if she could write a guest post for my blog…
“Hi, I am really proud to have visited your website,” says PS on How to Write a Query Letter and Get Your Article Published, “and I want to contribute to your guest article be suggested Blog. My articles will be about ‘how to find online writing jobs for ESL writers’ and would have all the trends, stats, and expert opinions and that would be 700 words+ long. Suggest me about any kinds of article your own thinking. I will try to write your thinking articles. I can assure that my article will be unique and you will not have to face any plagiarism issues with that. I need one link to my website to be placed with the article contribution. Hope I will get the opportunity to write for your website and expecting a positive response soon from you. Best wishes, Blog Writer.”
Hats off to her! It takes a lot of courage to ask to write a guest article. Her heart is in the right place, and I get the sense that she’s an eager and ethical writer. The problem is that she does not write English well. Even if I did publish guest articles on my blog, I would not accept an article from her because of all the grammatical errors and sentence structure issues in her query. Yes, I could edit her post so it’s publishable, but I don’t have the time or inclination to be an editor. If you’re in the same boat – you want to find online writing jobs but you struggle to write good English, I have several tips to help you out…
I know what it’s like to want to write, and not know where or how to start. So, I brainstormed a few “learn to write good English” tips for ESL writers – and for all writers who are passionate and motivated about making a living writing. These aren’t specific tips for finding online writing jobs because there are whole ebooks written on that – and because it’s not the Number One Thing right now.
The Number One Thing is about investing in yourself as a writer, which I describe in more detail below. Even if you are not an ESL writer, you might find these tips helpful and encouraging…
Before You Search for Online Writing Jobs – Help for ESL Writers
The most important first step to finding writing jobs online is investing in yourself (I bet you thought it’d be learning how to write English, didn’t you? If so, you’re partly right!).
7 Quick Tips for ESL Writers:
- Invest in yourself as an ESL writer.
- Learn how to learn fast – Rapid Skill Acquisition.
- Learn what “deliberate practice” means to ESL writers.
- Dedicate one hour a day to learning how to write ESL.
- Find an ESL writing tutor in person – not online.
- Ask a proficient English editor to give you feedback on your writing.
- Read books on how to write English.
Yes, it will take months to learn how to write English well. Yes, you will pull your hair out because English is not an easy language to learn. And yes, it will be worth it! Why? Because you will find online writing jobs if you know how to write English.
1. Invest in yourself as an ESL writer
Before you send query letters or ask bloggers if you can write guest articles, you need to dedicate your time and energy to learning how to be a strong ESL writer. This means investing your energy, time, discipline, motivation, and financial resources in learning English writing skills. Do not send any more query letters or offer to write any more articles until you learn how to write.
Be encouraged, take heart! There are thousands of people who call themselves “blog writers” who write really bad English. If you spent even just one month investing in yourself and practicing these tips for learning how to be an ESL writer, you will find online writing jobs because you will rise above the competition.
2. Learn how to learn fast – Rapid Skill Acquisition
You probably don’t want to spend months learning to write English well. I get it. You want to learn ESL writing fast so you can start searching for those online writing jobs! I hear you.
Writing – even for native English speakers – is a lifelong process. I am 47 years old, I have three university degrees, I’ve been writing for magazines and blogging since 2008, and I got excellent grades when I took English and literature at school. And yes… I’m still learning how to be a good English writer. I listen to writing podcasts, and I am always, always reading at least one book about non-fiction writing, freelancing, blogging, creativity, or SEO (search engine optimization). So, my friend, don’t expect to become a strong ESL writer in a month or even a year.
In The First 20 Hours- How to Learn Anything Fast!, Josh Kaufman asks, “What if it’s possible to learn the basics of any new skill in 20 hours or less?” Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to master a new skill, and the earliest hours are always the most frustrating. That’s why it’s so difficult to learn a new language, play an instrument, hit a golf ball, or shoot great photos.
Josh Kaufman offers a better way. His systematic approach to rapid skill acquisition shows you how to deconstruct complex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common learning barriers. By completing just 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice you can pick up the basics in record time… and have fun along the way 🙂
Even though you won’t master ESL writing in a year (or five), you can learn the basics fast. There’s something called “Rapid Skill Acquisition” – it essentially means “how to learn fast.” That’s what Kaufman describes in this book.
I can’t describe the whole process in this article because I’m supposed to be focused on investing in yourself as an ESL writer and finding online writing jobs. In the future, I will write an article that explains Rapid Skill Acquisition in relation to ESL writing.
To learn about Rapid Skill Acquisition in general, read Rapid Skill Acquisition: The First 20 Hours.
3. Learn what “deliberate practice” means to ESL writers
Deliberate practice means doing something with your full attention and mind (this is not the textbook or dictionary definition of deliberate practice). For example, when I practice scales on my flute, I pay close attention to the notes, fingering, tones, my lips, my arms, my embouchure – it’s a lot! It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But it is an effective way to learn how to play my flute better.
Deliberate practice is simply paying close attention when you’re doing something. And, it’s adding new higher-level skills to your repertoire when you’ve mastered the lower-level skills. When you “deliberately practice” English writing, your mind is focused on what you’re learning. When it comes to learning ESL as a writer who wants to find online writing jobs that pay money, you need to play close attention to what you are doing.
You can spend eight hours sitting in English class but not learn anything. Or, you can spend one hour being very focused and deliberate about learning how to write English, and you’ll be farther ahead than the clown who just sat mindlessly in class.
One way to deliberately practice English is to write or copy good sentences in your own notebook. Take a pen or pencil and a piece of paper, find a difficult-to-you paragraph in English, and copy it out. Note where the commas and periods are. Where do the sentences begin and end, how do they sound? You don’t need to learn what complex sentences, transitory verbs, or dangling modifiers are right now. Just copy English sentences into your notebook to get the feel of writing English.
4. Dedicate one hour a day to learning how to write ESL
HIf you use deliberate practice, you will find that one hour a day is a lot! Deliberate practice is exhausting. I only practice my flute for 30 minutes a day; when it’s deliberate practice, my mind is fried at the end of 30 minutes. If you practice writing English in a mindful and focused way for longer than 30 or 60 minutes – depending on your skill level – you won’t get the same benefits as when you’re fresh. The more tired and fatigued to get, the less you will learn.
Take time to search online for writing jobs. Don’t apply for any of the Johnson yet. Just look,, and research the available writing jobs today. This helped keep you motivated to learn good ESL writing skills, and it will reassure you that there are writing jobs waiting for you. Hopefully, finding writing jobs online will keep you motivated to keep her.
5. Find an ESL writing tutor in person
I know English tutors are expensive. I don’t know where in the world you live. But, I suspect that if you are an ESL writer who is searching for online writing jobs and if your English is as poor as my reader’s in the comment above, then you probably don’t have much money to pay for an English or ESL tutor. I get it. Unfortunately, I have no answers or solutions for you.
Except for this… Can you barter your services or products in exchange for English writing and tutoring? Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom in India, and you make delicious naan! Can you supply somebody with naan for a month or two in exchange for writing practice and tutoring? I don’t know what possibilities exist in your life, but I have a feeling that if you get creative, you will find ways to achieve your goals.
6. Ask a proficient English editor to give you feedback on your writing
My best writing teacher was a Reader’s Digest editor. I was so blessed to have her!
Reader’s Digest paid me one dollar per word (crazy, huh?) to write articles for their print and online magazine. I didn’t know it at the time, but the REAL value was in the editor’s time. She would call me on the phone when she was ready to discuss her edits to my article; we would comb through the article line by line. That Reader’s Digest editor would edit the article with me on the phone with her! This is a rare sighting.
I both hated and loved those phone calls. It’s hard to get feedback on your writing. But I learned so much about writing for Reader’s Digest magazine, about my own writing style and voice, and about editing. If you want to be a good ESL writer – and find those plum online writing jobs – you need to get in person help with your writing. If you can find or hire someone to go through your writing with you line by line, do it. That’s one of the best ways to learn how to write English.
Here’s some of what I learned: 10 Writing Tips From a Reader’s Digest Editor.
7. Read books in English
O yes, reading. This has long been the number one writing tip for all writers, whether they’re ESL (or ETL or EFL) writers, or 80-year-old native English-speaking writers, or published poets…the fundamental tip for learning how to write well is to read.
But this doesn’t just mean languishing in a hot bubble bath while reading an escape novel about knitting or food blogging. This is where deliberate practice rears its ugly head again: reading to learn how to be a good ESL writer means reading carefully and thoughtfully. Notice the sentences, the words, the images, the grammar and voice and style. Pay attention to what emotions the writer is conveying with her words. Learn how to read like a writer.
Take heart, be encouraged, dear ESL writer! The marketplace isn’t as competitive as you might think. Yes, there are thousands of writers looking for online writing jobs. But, most of them aren’t good writers – even when English is their first language! Even those writers – writers who grew up speaking English at home and learning English at school – don’t write good English.
For more ESL writing tips, read How to Improve Your English – Speaking, Reading, Writing.
Help Learning to Write English for ESL Writers
Laura Brown’s How to Write Anything- A Complete Guide is one of my favorite writing resources and reference guides. It is amazing – there is so much information packed onto each page, and I was surprised at the depth of detail and clarity she offers.
With more than 200 how-to entries and easy-to-use models organized into three comprehensive sections on work, school, and personal life, How to Write Anything covers a wide range of topics.
This is an essential guide – and it’s internet-savvy! If you’re searching for online writing jobs (ELS writer or not), you will learn how to write for the web form this book. Brown also offers advice throughout about choosing the most appropriate medium for your message: e-mail or pen and paper.
A Writer’s Reference with Resources for Multilingual Writers and ESL is the most recent version of the bestselling college handbook; it helps students develop strategies for improving their academic English and academic writing. Written by an ESL expert, this booklet includes plenty of helpful charts, activities, exercises, and model papers — along with notes about where to find additional resources online.
Whether you’re an ESL writer searching for your first online job or a professional freelance magazine writer who wants to make money blogging, you need to invest in yourself as a writer.
I welcome your thoughts on these tips for finding online writing jobs for ESL writers. If you have any helpful resources or learning strategies – especially for people who are learning to write English specifically to make money online – please share them here.
May your journey to learning ESL be swift and interesting, and may you find online work that perfectly suits your personality, goals, and lifestyle. May you be blessed with wisdom, courage, discipline, and joy. And may the peace that surpasses all understanding be yours today and forevermore.