I am Dutch, which means I'm from The Netherlands (you can probably tell this from my name - which is Sjoukje: probably one of the most Dutch names you could find!). As you can see I have an English blog and I absolutely love writing articles in English, but translating every word into a different language can be very annoying, at some times. If you're thinking of starting or improving your blog in English, but you originally speak another language - make sure to keep on reading - I'll tell you how to make this annoying yet rewarding process easier!
1. Read as many books and watch as many (English!) movies as you can
I've always loved English and American television shows and I never watch Dutch shows. I prefer reading original English books as well, and even though this is a personal preference I think you can make yourself love English books: just remember the words you're reading are the original ones the author wrote, rather than a translation which could be a bit off. Jokes are better, puns are more creative and everything just makes more sense.
2. Do not translate your posts using Google Translate
Google Translate is great for single words but never - I repeat, never - translate a post, not even a sentence from your native language to English. I'll assure you: it's never 100% right. Trust your instincts, and if you're in doubt, ask native speakers to correct your writing. If you don't have English friends, just post it - you'll be corrected anyway. That's how the internet works. ;)
3. You don't have to produce literature
Always try to improve yourself, but remember.. you don't have to be Shakespeare #2. Don't try to be better than you really are. If you can't produce complicated sentences, keep it simple. Your words can be correct but your sentence structure is what really matters: using many words you don't truly understand makes producing right sentences harder, resulting in crooked sentences no-one can follow. Keep it easy!
4. Try to speak more English
Instead of choosing for regular English at school, I chose for something called 'international baccalaureate', which improved my English. One thing which really helped is that during the first three years, we were forced to speak English - which I hated at first but I now am thankful for. Crossing that barrier is important: daring to speak English is something you have to learn before being able to write in English.
5. Try to think in English
This might sound silly.. but I sometimes find myself thinking in English, instead of in Dutch. I think about blogposts a lot - of how I'm going to write them and how I'll produce my sentences. Doing this is just easier - and if you get used to thinking in English (sometimes!) as well, sentence structures and grammar will start to make more sense and feel less unnatural to you.
6. Just do it
My first post ever was a disaster. My sentences are alright but there's just no structure in my post: I just ramble about my new phone (what that first post's subject was) and produce annoying sentences, trying to get my opinion across. I don't want to delete it, though, as I see it as a motivation to keep on improving myself. You might find your current level a bit disappointing - I sometimes have that feeling too, but try to see your improvement, instead of your flaws.
7. And don't forget..
..try to enjoy writing in English. It's not something anybody's forcing you to do, you do it because you like it. Always remember that! Don't try to love it - forcing yourself to do something will only make you hate it more.