Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Chinese writing challenge, May 10th to 31th

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 (there are other challenges for that).

Hacking Chinese writing challenge, May 10th to May 31st

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 May 10th (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 suggest using Lang-8 if you don’t have someone who can help you already. 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.

Setting a reasonable goal

You should set a goal which is as high as possible without feeling unreachable. Allow for some slack. If this is your first challenge or if you’re not sure what you’re capable of, go for 5 hours. If you know what you’re doing, you can aim for twice that. I have lots of things to write, so I’m going to aim for 10 hours.


Preliminary challenge schedule for 2016

To make sure that the challenges cover all major areas, I have created a rough schedule of what challenges will be on for the rest of the year. I might change this somewhat and insert more specific or unusual challenges here and there (if you have any ideas, please let me know). Challenges in italics are preliminary.

  1. January: New Year
  2. February: Listening
  3. March: Vocabulary
  4. April: Reading
  5. May: Writing
  6. June: Benchmarking
  7. July: Translation (to Chinese)
  8. August: Reading
  9. September: Mimicking
  10. October: Speaking
  11. November: Translation (from Chinese)
  12. December: Vocabulary

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