How I started to write poetry and prose in a second language: translatedselves


hey there before I jump into my life
story and share some tested ways of how to become a bilingual writer I would
like to thank everyone who supported my first video that I posted on Instagram
and where I explained why I have a bilingual profile by the way the link to
the profile and the video is down below if you want to check it out
but people texted me things like this and things like this and that’s how an
idea for a community of bilingual writers was born we might come from
different cultures we might have different backgrounds but the thing is
that we are still a group we are interconnected by our interests our
aspirations our struggles as people who want to write in their second language
that is why you should make a video or write a post about your experiences of
as a bilingual writer post it on instagram and hashtag it #translatedselves so that people who can deeply relate to your experience will hear
about you and give you some feedback do it now come on come on I know you’ve got
an interesting one anyways without any delay let’s jump into the story and the
tips I moved Russia to Singapore in 2012 with my family and I was only 19 at
that point youngster just out of school excited and terrified about life
simultaneously and what intensified those feelings was the fact that my
future existed someone beyond the horizon my future spoke in a different
language my future thrived in different culture I did study English back in
school but just to give you an idea of the level of language that I had I had
to pass IELTS three times so that I can hit the average score of 6.0 and get
into university so there I was 2012 trying to fit in badly trying to fit in
trying to improve my English as fast as possible
this is what I did I would walk on the street and witness something and then I will start
describing it in my head to an imaginary someone in English or I would catch my
own thoughts and translate them into English back then I still used to
think in Russian nowadays I think I use both of the languages but it really depends
on what I’m thinking about because certain concepts are just so specific to
English language and some concepts are just very Russian okay so it depends and you know it’s amazing how we can form a new habit if we commit to it just in a couple of months I got so used to paying attention to my own thoughts I was surprised how many ideas I actually have throughout the day and that’s when
I started writing them down you know what I didn’t take writing seriously it
was just you know just notes just short notes more time passed by and that’s
when I started getting rhymes in English I kind of anticipated it as if my mind
was pregnant with English poetry it was like an unavoidable child of my own
actions you know paying attention to my thoughts and translating them all I did
write it all down but to me it was never serious you know there was also
this voice in my head the belittling voice that always told me like what’s the
point of it why don’t you write it down your English is not good enough you will
never write as a native speaker why would you do that I think lot of
writers have that voice in their head and it doesn’t even matter if you’re
writing in the first language second language third language you’re always
kind of stopping yourself from you know just writing and obviously in order to
consider myself a writer today I had to get rid of that voice it comes back from
time to time but it’s not welcome to anymore anyways 2016 so we jump in time
now four years after I moved abroad I finished my psychology degree and the
reason why I started psychology was not only because I’m interested in
psychology but also because I pushed aside the thought of writing in English I used to
write like I’ve been writing all my life since it was seven or eight actually my
grandparents still have this um school notebooks where I would write my stories
and sometimes when I go back to Russia I look like I look through them and I’m
like oh that’s adorable but yes 2016 I finished my degree in
psychology and I just found myself so lost I just didn’t know what I wanted
it’s kind of a hard time ah I cut my hair in front of the mirror and I took
all the money I saved from working part-time and I just went backpacking
for a year and during that year I wrote I wrote every single day I started to
seriously lead a diary in English and also I allowed myself to write poetry in
English and it’s so funny because it also inspired me to write more poetry in
Russian by the end of 2017 I had 500 poems in both English and
Russian and by now I have 80,000 words in my
diary all in English I’m not sharing these numbers just for the sake of
sharing it I’m just showing you how you can go from casual into slowly taking it
seriously it’s all about practice it’s all about starting somewhere the first
steps are always small sometimes we take them without even realizing like I
did not realize that translating my own thoughts will lead to me being a writer
at some point just start small and avoid that voice keeps telling you that
it is not good enough it’s interesting because if you will actually dig into
the research on bilingual writing you’ll find out the people who used two or more
languages they tend to be more creative you know in their writing you will never
be like a native speaker but you don’t have to be it’s not about being like
someone else it’s about working on your own strengths take what you already have
and work on it work on it work on it practice this is the only way you can
get somewhere another thing that I would like to share with you guys the use
of language any language requires four skills some two skills are receptive and
two skills productive so your receptive skills are reading and
listening do the productive ones are writing and speaking you need to boost
to skills out of this four which is reading and writing this is not you know
specific to second language writing because if you want to be a writer you
have to read a lot and to write a lot you can’t escape that my suggestion
is just start leading a diary a diary is your territory you can write whatever
you want it can be complete crap it can be full of cliches it doesn’t matter
it’s your diary you don’t have to entertain anyone in there the only person you might be entertaining is yourself start writing
in English anything anything you see just describe a situation describe a
person and describe a feeling just jump into it yeah and don’t forget to make a
video or write a post each of you has other suggestions on
how to start writing in a second language how to get good at writing in
a second language I’m looking forward to hearing from you to learning from you
thanks for watching

1 thought on “How I started to write poetry and prose in a second language: translatedselves

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