Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Chinese writing challenge, June 2017

writingchallengeIt’s time for a Chinese writing challenge! This is a great opportunity if you want to improve your written Chinese. If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t spend as much time on this as you should.

Writing here refers to composition, i.e. how to write texts in Chinese rather than how to write individual characters.

Hacking Chinese writing challenge, June 2017

This how you sign up and join the challenge:

  1. Sign up (using your e-mail, Facebook or Twitter)
  2. View current and upcoming challenges on the front page
  3. Join the writing challenge
  4. Set a reasonable goal (see below)
  5. Start writing!
  6. Report your progress on your computer or mobile device
  7. Check the graph to see if you’re on track to reaching your goal
  8. Check the leader board to see how you compare to others (if you want)
  9. Share progress, tips and resources with fellow students

Please note:  The challenge starts on June 1st (Tuesday), so even if you join now, you won’t be able to report progress until then. I post this article today so you have a few days to prepare!

What should you write?

Anything you like, the important thing is that you practice and that you get feedback on your writing. I have written a few posts already about solving different writing-related problems, so take a look at any of the following articles:

One way of making yourself more accountable is to start a blog in Chinese and share it with your Chinese-speaking friends and/or your teacher. Commit to writing something at least three days a week (doesn’t matter how short it is) and ask people to check if you’re doing that and to leave comments.

Your challenge: Setting a reasonable goal

Set a goal which is as high as possible without feeling unreachable. For the duration of the challenge, I think it’s reasonable for part-time students to spend 15 minutes per day on average, which will mean roughly 8 hours over the entire challenge provided that you have no major events coming up that will take days away. Full-time students can aim for at least twice that.

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Preliminary challenge schedule for 2017

As mentioned before, I will change things a bit for the challenges in 2017. The biggest change is that there will be half as many challenges, running for one entire month each. The following is a preliminary schedule, based on the things I think most learners should spend more time doing:

  1. February – Listening
  2. April – Reading
  3. June – Writing (the current challenge)
  4. August – Listening
  5. October – Reading
  6. December – Speaking
Do you want more practical exercises, audio versions of articles and Chinese translations? Check out my Patreon page!

Sign up for my free crash course in how to learn Mandarin:

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