Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Chinese writing challenge, May 2018

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, but feel free to write by hand if you want.

Hacking Chinese writing challenge, May 15th 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 15th (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 wnite 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.

I would also advice you against trying to write something which is at or over the level of Chinese you can read. If you need to look up more than one word per sentence you’re writing, you’re probably aiming too high, and when asking for feedback, you’ll see more red ink than is good for you motivation. Take it easy!

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 4 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.

Preliminary challenge schedule for 2018

This is a preliminary schedule for focused challenges in 2018:

  1. February: Listening
  2. March: Vocabulary
  3. April: Reading
  4. May: Writing
  5. June: Pronunciation
  6. July: Listening
  7. August: Vocabulary
  8. September: Reading
  9. October: Speaking
  10. November: Handwriting
  11. December: Translation

 


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