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Can Non-Native English Speakers Write On Medium And Be Succesful?

  • 5 min read

What really matters and why silly mistakes are actually funny and cute.

I have to admit that English not being my first language kept me from writing for a long time.

However, this year I’ve been living and taking the shot on several new adventures.

As Freda Savahl said:

You are amazing & gutsy, Kristina.

Indeed, I’m gutsy!

Not only did I move to an island a few weeks ago, but I also created my first online course — in English, which isn’t my first language.

My mother's tongue is German.

I have so many stories to tell.

Unfortunately, sometimes I just need too much time to write down my thoughts because I have to ‘translate’ them into English in my head.

I often say to my husband that if I were a native, I could master the game of writing online because I could just let my thoughts flow.

I write every day and make mistakes.

That’s part of my writing journey.

However, I improve my English with every story I share with the online world.

The feedback I’ve received on my writing and the wonderful people I’ve met within the past eleven months have even given me the courage to grow beyond words.

I recorded my first online course for my boot campers and shared the videos although I knew they contained a few silly mistakes.


No scripting

As I said, I know that the videos for my Online Writing Kickstarter Bootcamp contain a few mistakes.

When I shared the link with one of my native-speaking friends in Germany she gave me the following feedback:

your script is a little bit high up relative to the camera lens so that you’re not looking directly into the camera, rather above it.

Watching it made me wonder if there was a leaf on my head or something!

If you can, maybe lower the script a little bit?

Script? I don’t have a script, I messaged her.

She replied:

What? No way!

Given what you’ve conveyed with no script, I wonder if too much scripting will actually hamstring you.

I expected she would say something about my mistakes but she didn't.

Only on request, she told me:

‘ratio’ is pronounced ‘ray-shee-oh’ — you did say it right in some places but then a couple of times like the German.

Well, she was absolutely right.

I wrote this silly mistake in my journal and moved on.


Nonverbal communication is key

What’s more important when you’re talking with a non-native?

The information conveyed or the nonverbal communication?

Since I’ve studied Communications and I’ve given hundreds of presentations in front of up to 200 people in my 10+ years corporate career, I know nonverbal communication is key.

It’s all about body movements and posture, facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice.

Nonverbal communication contributes to over 90% of how we understand each other.

My native friend said the following:

Everything is very clearly expressed, your way of speaking is engaging with perfect intonation.

It struck the balance between conversational and conveying important information.


My mistakes and what really matters

Besides being a non-native speaker, when recording the lectures I had to deal with…

  • imposter syndrome
  • my perfectionism

My husband reminded me of Sheryl Sandberg’s quote:

Done is better than perfect!

As my native speaking friend from the UK said:

There were very few mistakes and I actually think the occasional error is quirky and cute and makes you relatable to your audience.

Quirky and cute?

Relatable to your audience?

Wow!

I hadn't thought of that at all. But she was 100% right.

Being a non-native-speaking woman from Germany is part of my personal brand.

It’s part of my voice on this platform and I’m proud to have come so far within eleven months as a non-native.


Final Takeaways

Eleven months ago, I ‘leaned towards faith’☘️.

When I started my writing journey, I had no clue how far I would come.

  • My goal was to earn $5 per month. My subscription fee.

☘️Last month I made $600+.

  • My goal was to write at least 4 pieces per month.

☘️Last month I published around 45 pieces.

  • My goal was to meet inspiring people.

☘️I met one-of-a-kind people from around the world who lift me up when I go down negative town.

  • My goal was to write on Medium.

☘️I extended my writing to Twitter and Quora.

☘️I outgrew myself when I took my first online course.

Being a non-native English speaker matters less than you think when it comes to writing.

Dare to lean towards faith. Just write and learn.

© Kristina God

PS: Thanks, bootcampers for your amazing feedback:

You are truly inspiring! I didn’t know this was your first time on video, I mean…I couldn’t even tell that looking at those. Tamil

Leading by example is the only way. Thank you for everything you are doing Kristina! Sally Prag

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