How to be a confident writer when English is not your native language

Natasha Tynes
2 min readNov 23, 2022

Imposter syndrome is real.

In my case, it rears its ugly head every once in a while, mainly when I’m writing. In my case, it rears its ugly head every once in a while, mainly when I’m writing.

Credit: Chris Yang — Unsplash

You would think that after writing in English for over thirty years and publishing a novel, short stories, and articles in The Washington Post, Elle, and Esquire, I would overcome my imposter syndrome.

No, not quiet.

Is English not your native language, and you find yourself in a similar situation?

Here are my tips that will push you to keep writing and creating in English, even if you think the odds are against you:

- Remind yourself of the greats.

Nabokov was Russian.
Joseph Conrad was Polish.
Kazuo Ishiguro is Japanese.

They did it, and did it brilliantly.

  • Invest in some copyediting tools to ease your mind. My favorite is Grammarly. Hemingway is also a good one.
  • Use your native language to your advantage. I throw in Arabic words in my writing and readers love that.
  • Remind yourself that many of your readers speak fewer languages than you do. This should give you some confidence and a nice ego boost.
  • Ask for a peer review from a native speaker. If you are self-publishing, invest in an editor. This way, you can focus on the structure and not drive yourself crazy over typos and grammar.
  • Self-deprecate and Joke about your accent. Greek-American media entrepreneur Ariana Huffington often starts her public talks with “I have an accent” which is usually followed by laughs.

We all have self-doubt. Sometimes, simple mind tricks will give you the confidence you need.

Give yourself a pat on the back and say, I got this.

If Nabokov can do it, you can do it too.

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy my newsletter, in which I provide tips on writing and publishing. You can subscribe here.

Natasha Tynes

Writer. Journalist. Words in @washingtonpost , @ElleUK , @esquire . I write about: ✍🏼 Writing 📲 Creator economy 🌍 Mideast