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So, I Blogged for 10 Years to Improve My English

Some skills take time to acquire — and that's okay.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

I’ve been blog­ging for ten years — to improve my English.

Ten years ago today, I hopped on a plane to go and live in New York. 

Go and live” was optim­ist­ic, giv­en that I had nowhere to sleep when I landed; I had to put down my agency’s address as my home address. 

The flight from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Newark International Airport took over ten hours, so I had time to think. I thought mostly about one thing:

How much I needed to improve my English.
Finding some­place to live was a sec­ond­ary concern.

I was already an estab­lished PR pro­fes­sion­al in Sweden with reput­able exper­i­ence advising glob­al cli­ents. Like most Swedes, I spoke English well enough for every­day situations.

The issue was that much of my pro­fes­sion­al con­fid­ence ori­gin­ated from being a fast and robust writer in Swedish.

Writing well in Swedish was how it all star­ted for me. The oppor­tun­ity to make a liv­ing by writ­ing drew me into pub­lic rela­tions in the first place. 

I had this feel­ing that the team in New York were expect­ing me to do what I had been doing so well in Sweden in America. 

But I knew that my busi­ness English wasn’t up to par.

The abil­ity to express one­self cre­at­ively is born out of a sense of free­dom to exper­i­ment con­fid­ently using words and sen­tences as “will­ing” build­ing blocks. If you only have one rudi­ment­ary set of build­ing blocks, that free­dom to roam disappears.

The team in New York prob­ably had no idea how much of my use­ful­ness came from being a sol­id writer… in Swedish.

C’est la vie. English was like my non-exist­ing liv­ing situ­ation; anoth­er thing I would have to fig­ure out once the plane touched the ground. 

During that 10-hour flight, I decided to retire my Swedish blog (“Doktor Spinn”) and breathe life into Doctor Spin, a PR blog in English.

Read also: I Was Blogging Before, During, and Long After It Was Cool

Alas, I had no inten­tion of run­ning a PR blog for the sake of run­ning a PR blog. I just wanted some­where to prac­tise writ­ing busi­ness English. The pro­pos­i­tion of being indexed by search engines — and then found by inter­ested read­ers — only served to intro­duce accountability.

Friends and col­leagues thought launch­ing an English blog was a stra­tegic move. As an NYC-based PR adviser and star­tup COO, maybe blog­ging in English was a cal­cu­lated attempt at scal­ing my per­son­al brand. Of course, it wasn’t, but I nev­er cor­rec­ted any­one about this, either. 

I just kept writ­ing to improve my English.

Today, after ten years of focused effort, I declare this pro­ject finalised.

The pro­ject isn’t done because I’ve some­how learnt enough. It’s done in the sense that I can now express myself freely. I’ve reached a point of dimin­ish­ing returns, even. 

I will nev­er be as good a writer as I am in Swedish, but the con­fid­ence in using English is there now — and that was the whole point of this dec­ade-long exercise.

In any case, I’ll con­tin­ue to blog in English. Not because I must prac­tice but because Doctor Spin is a PR blog writ­ten in English now.

As I close the books on this pro­ject, do I have any insight to share with you? Well, get­ting an apart­ment in New York City took three days. “The English Project” took ten years. 

That’s just the way these things work, I suppose.


Please sup­port my PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: More Projects

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

My Renaissance Projects

The Renaissance was a peri­od of sig­ni­fic­ant cul­tur­al, artist­ic, polit­ic­al, and sci­entif­ic rebirth in Europe, last­ing from the 14th to the 17th cen­tury, marked by a renewed interest in the clas­sic­al art and ideas of ancient Greece and Rome.

Inspired by lifelong artists and learners, I strive to always devel­op my cre­at­ive intel­li­gence, phys­ic­al strengths, and men­tal well-being. 

This is a list of my “Renaissance Projects”:

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PR Resource: Drafting

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Communication Skill: Drafting

Drafting, cre­at­ing, and refin­ing writ­ten doc­u­ments are fun­da­ment­al com­mu­nic­a­tion skills cru­cial in every­day life. From com­pos­ing emails and writ­ing reports to craft­ing per­son­al let­ters or social media posts, the abil­ity to draft and edit doc­u­ments ensures clar­ity, coher­ence, and effect­ive­ness in con­vey­ing messages. 

The first draft of any­thing is shit.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Many indi­vidu­als struggle with writ­ing not because they lack ideas but because they under­es­tim­ate the power of revi­sion. The ini­tial draft is rarely per­fect; it’s through revis­ing this draft — trans­form­ing it into a second, third, or even fourth draft — that one hones the mes­sage, sharpens the lan­guage, and strengthens the over­all communication. 

Developing a habit of draft­ing and edit­ing allows for explor­ing ideas, refin­ing thought, and elim­in­at­ing ambi­gu­ity, mak­ing the final product more impact­ful and under­stood by its inten­ded audi­ence.

To become bet­ter at draft­ing, con­sider these five tips:

  • Embrace the pro­cess. Accept that draft­ing is a pro­cess that involves writ­ing, revis­it­ing, and revis­ing. Your first draft is just the begin­ning, not the end product.
  • Separate writ­ing from edit­ing. Allow your­self to write freely in the ini­tial draft without wor­ry­ing about per­fec­tion. Focus on get­ting your ideas down, then shift to edit­ing mode to refine your work.
  • Read aloud. Reading your draft aloud can help you catch errors, awk­ward phras­ing, and unclear areas. This prac­tice can also improve the rhythm and flow of your writing.
  • Seek feed­back. Don’t hes­it­ate to share your drafts with oth­ers. Feedback can provide new per­spect­ives and insights that you might have overlooked.
  • Use tools wisely. Use writ­ing and edit­ing tools (such as large lan­guage mod­els, gram­mar check­ers, or style guides) to help identi­fy areas for improve­ment. However, always apply your judg­ment to ensure sug­ges­tions align with your inten­ded mes­sage and voice.

Incorporating these strategies into your writ­ing routine can elev­ate your draft­ing skills, lead­ing to clear­er, more com­pel­ling, and more effect­ive writ­ten com­mu­nic­a­tion in every aspect of your life.

Learn more: Communication Skills (That Everyone Should Learn)

💡 Subscribe and get a free ebook on how to get bet­ter PR ideas.

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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