Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 36:

“It’s so difficult to write in English!”

My sympathies!

Writing in English when it isn’t your native tongue is extremely difficult. Whole books have been written about the bizarre spelling, pronunciation, grammar, and syntax of this crazy language.

If you are fairly good, hiring a copyeditor may be useful. If your English is very weak, they usually cannot be helpful because the meaning is not clear. 

Some books provide good advice for non-native speakers of English writing articles (Glasman-Deal 2010).

If you don’t have access to such books, or can’t pay a copyeditor, read as many recent academic works in English as you can. Reading helps you absorb the structure of the language at an intuitive level so the more you do of it, the better.

Most important, support scholarly journals in your own language(s). I know universities in many countries now prioritize publishing in English-language journals, but it is vital to keep research going in indigenous languages. US journals won’t publish the type of small-scale research essential to the forward movement of scholarship about small places outside of the US. 

Works Cited

Glasman-Deal, Hilary. 2010. Science Research Writing for Non-native Speakers of English. London: Imperial College Press.

Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 36, one of the resource obstacles listed on page 32 of Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (University of Chicago Press, 2019).