Do a lot active writing
The more you read, the faster your writing skills will improve. But it is important to do active reading rather than just reading. By Active reading we mean you should not read just to understand the text but you should pay attention to the structure of the sentences and words used. You should treat all sentences as model sentences and try to understand how verb conjugations are being used according to tense, speaker, and context; how the sentences are being framed using different types of connecters; what other grammatical element and phrases are being used and so on. This way, you will learn how to express different ideas in different ways.
Plan first, write later
Before starting to write an essay, article or research paper, it is important to make a rough outline. The outline should have the base framework of the writing and the points and arguments you are going to include. Even if you have to do spontaneous writing and don’t have time to make a detailed outline on paper, at least plan in mind what you are going to write. How would you introduce the main topic? How would you develop the main body? How would you present your ideas, hypothesis and arguments? How would you like to conclude it? Having an idea about all these things will make your writing much better. This outline preparation will give your writing a natural flow. It will make it more coherent and easy to grasp for the reader.
Write first, refine later
Don’t try to write completely perfect sentences and paragraphs the very first time. If you try to compose a perfect text, either it will take you a lot of time or you will get exhausted in the middle and will give up. It’s important to just write and finish the text. After the first draft is ready, go back to the beginning and review every sentence and paragraph. Make changes in grammar, vocabulary, rearrange things and add or delete sentences as required. If it’s an important paper or article, it always helps to take a break of a few hours and then read it again.
Think in Korean
Usually foreign language learners have the habit of thinking in their mother tongue and then translating their thoughts into Korean. This method is useful in the beginning stages but it becomes rather a barrier once you are past beginner level. The reason is that, in your mother tongue you know a vast amount of vocabulary and grammar while you are barely at a child’s level when it comes to your target language. So when you think about a topic in your first language, you have very complex thoughts and frame big and beautiful sentences. But you don’t have enough skills to convert those thoughts into sentences in your target language. And it results incorrect and difficult to understand sentences and incoherent paragraphs. Instead it is better to think in the language you are learning because when you do that your thoughts won’t go beyond your knowledge or vocabulary and grammar and you will be able to write a good and comprehensible text.
Play with the language
When you do active reading (check point one), you will notice new grammar patterns, words and ways to frame sentences. It’s important to put that newly acquired knowledge in practice otherwise you will forget everything after some time. Try to be creative with grammar patterns and words and try to frame new sentences. You will make a lot of mistakes but then you will also learn a lot of things everyday. If you don’t experiment with the language and just stick to using the things you know, you won’t be able to go beyond a certain level.
Work on Connectors and Conjugation
The better you are at using connectors and conjugations in Korean, the better your writing will be. Practice writing the same sentence in different ways by using different sets of connectors and conjugations.
Also Check: 10 Ways to Improve your Korean Speaking Skills
Study Field specific words and Phrases
Once you are at higher intermediate level just knowing the worlds used in everyday conversations is not enough. You won’t be able to write on difficult topics unless you have domain specific vocabulary. It’s very important to memorize important Korean words from fields like politics, economy, entertainment, science, sports etc. Especially if you are planning to pursue higher study in a Korean university or want to work in a Korean company, it’s necessary to know important vocabulary from all common fields.
It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? A person who writes 10 sentences in Korean everyday will almost always be better than someone who sits down once in a month and writes 30 pages. Writing regularly is very important. You don’t need to write an essay on a new topic everyday. It can just be anything random – about something you did that day, someone you met, some place you went to, something you observed. You can just write a small text in Korean on Facebook or Twitter everyday. It will boost your confidence and you may also get some good feedback.
Do not use Colloquial Korean in writing
We are generally exposed to spoken Korean much more than to written Korean. Especially the people who start learning Korean after watching a lot of Korean drama are most used to the spoken colloquial Korean. So even when they write, they use colloquial words and phrases frequently without even realizing. It can be problematic if it becomes a habit. There are many Korean words and phrases that are commonly used in speaking but if used in writing, they will sound strange. For example 랑 (with/and) and한테(to) are used frequently in speaking but not in writing. In writing you are supposed to use와/ 과 /하고instead of 랑 and에게 / 께 instead of 한테. But use of colloquial words in casual Facebook or Twitter posts can be totally fine.
Get your Writing checked
It’s very important to get your writings checked once in a while by a native Korean speaker or someone whose Korean is better than yours so that you can learn about your mistakes and improve them. If you just keep your writing to yourself you may develop the habit of using some words and grammar incorrectly, and it may be difficult to correct it at a later stage. You can also get your writings checked by a native though various forums like itaki, lang8 or through the various groups for language exchange on Facebook.