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01 July, 2007:
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Write Every Day

Some might call the act of writing every day “homework.” Others might say “keeping a journal.” No matter how you think about it, writing a little bit every day is a great way to improve or maintain your writing level in Chinese

The best way to approach writing everyday is to look at it as journal keeping. Write about things that you did that day (or the day before, if you write in the morning), or write whatever is on your mind. You don’t need to write a lot. A few hundred characters per day is plenty.

If you are studying Chinese, then you should try to incorporate new vocabulary and grammatical structures into your daily writing. By using new words in real circumstances, you will be able to figure out how they fit together with other words, and hopefully they will stay in your memory as a part of your growing vocabulary.

If you are trying to learn to write, then it is important that you actually write by hand everyday. Some people prefer to first type their daily writing, but don’t be tempted by the ease of using a computer. You will remember characters better if you write them and build some muscle memory. If you are unsure of a character, type it first, but then copy it by hand.

Everyday writing practice does not need to be homework. You can do it for your eyes only. However, it is probably a good idea to bring some of your writing to a teacher or friend frequently enough that you can learn what mistakes you are making and how to fix them.

Even if you are not being corrected frequently, daily practice will help you remember characters and structures that might otherwise slip your mind. Don’t worry about being perfect all the time. Practice, practice, practice and you will find that you can recall more and more characters with relative ease.