Ask your friend to correct your mistakes, and try to use new vocabulary you learn so that you understand how to use it correctly.
When arranging to come to the UK or to travel, write (or e-mails) in English.
I emphasize this because the biggest problem that paralyzes students is not how to write; it’s how to organize what they are writing. They go out on a story, and they gather a million notes and a million quotes, and when they come back they have no idea what the story is about—what is its proper narrative shape? Their first paragraph contains facts that should be on page five; facts are on page five that should be in the first paragraph. The stories exist nowhere in time or space; the people could be in Brooklyn or Bogotá.
Exercises relating to numbering can be found .
I’ve given you these examples because writing is learned by imitation. We all need models. Bach needed a model; Picasso needed a model. Make a point of reading writers who are doing the kind of writing you want to do. (Many of them write for The New Yorker.) Study their articles clinically. Try to figure out how they put their words and sentences together. That’s how I learned to write, not from a writing course.
I couldn't be more pleased with the result.
There are always little girls around rock groups—the same little girls who used to hang around saxophone players, girls who lived on the celebrity and power and sex a band projects when it plays—and there are three of them out here this afternoon in Sausalito where the Grateful Dead rehearse. They are all pretty and two of them still have baby fat and one of them dances by herself with her eyes closed [perfect simple image]. . . .
RenchlerDissertation: - Jonathan M.
And here’s Joan Didion, who grew up in California and wrote brilliant magazine pieces about its trashy lifestyle in the 1960s. No anthropologist caught it better. This passage is from her collection of early magazine pieces, Slouching Toward Bethlehem.
Newman - Greg Walker - Kathleen Tonry
There are many modern journalists I admire for their strong, simple style, whom I could recommend to you as models. Two who come to mind are Gay Talese and Joan Didion. Here’s a passage by Talese, from his book of collected magazine pieces, The Gay Talese Reader, about the great Yankee baseball star, Joe DiMaggio, who at one point was married to Marilyn Monroe:
Scherb - Alastair Bennett - Tai-Won Kim - A.
Which brings me to my fourth principle: Humanity. Be yourself. Never try in your writing to be someone you’re not. Your product, finally, is you. Don’t lose that person by putting on airs, trying to sound superior.
Berdan - Anna Torti - Victor I.
They were of the civil rights movement, mostly, the grainy black-and-white footage that appears every February during Black History Month. . . . A pair of college students . . . placing their orders at a lunch counter teetering on the edge of riot. . . . A county jail bursting with children, their hands clasped together, singing freedom songs.