Studying Chinese

My Chinese learning goals for 2012: Skritter

My first goal for 2012 was quite clear, I wanted to finally make Skritter (affiliate link) part of my daily study routine. I’m a student that gets bored easily even to the best of study tools and making a real habit isn’t something that comes naturally. But I’m determined to achieve my goal, which is:

Study with Skritter at least 15 minutes per day

For a full-time language student it might not seem that big of a goal, but the challenge is to keep it up every day. Sure there will be exceptions when I’m sick or forced to be away from my computer, but then I will fill those minutes on an another day. But on all the other days of the year I’m going to use Skritter daily, at least for 15 minutes.

I’ve been cramming for my exams this week and that’s why the study minutes are up. Reaching the 15 minutes per day is enough, but surely I can continue as long as I wish after that. There’s no maximum.

I’m in the middle of the process of making other goals for 2012, but because their not ready yet, I decided to introduce my goals one by one.

What kind of study goals you have for 2012? Or do you have specific Skritter goals?


  • Bill

    When I tried Skritter I really struggled to write using a mouse. I found it far more productive to use a pen and paper. How do you find using the mouse to draw characters? Or have you found another input mechanism?


    Sara Reply:

    I agree, using mouse with Skritter isn’t the best option. I’m using tablet and a pen instead and it’s almost like writing with regular pen and paper! You can see the tablet in this post:


    Bill Reply:

    I’ve tried writing with the Apple Magic trackpad. It works well for standard character input but unfortunately it doesn’t work with Skritter.

    Thanks for sharing a link to your tablet though.


  • Steven Daniels

    Good luck with your goal.

    One of the best ways to get habits to stick is to create triggers–situations or events that cause you to do the thing you want to.

    One of my goals this year is to create an awesome website for learning to read Chinese. I hope it’s so good that you’ll want to use it. Version 1 is coming out at the end of this month.


    Sara Reply:

    Great to hear about your new project, I will surely check it out when it’s ready! I’m always interested in trying new ways to learn Chinese, sometimes I even use too much time to experiment new learning methods, than acutally learning the language.


  • Jack

    Oh man, you reminds me of my tortured childhood! :D Now thinking back, I realize Chinese is indeed THE HARDEST language to learn! I remember I spent at least 2 HOURS everyday writing pages after pages of Chinese character by character to memorize it. And that’s just the Chinese part of the homework! I am not sure what’s the average these days for primary school kids, but I thought that was hell back then. Basically, as far as I can remember, when the teacher introduce a new lesson, a bunch of new characters was introduced and that’s the homework – you write each character hundreds of times (upto 3 pages) and then you have to start making sentences with these characters (“造句” – the application part of it). I think its effective, but its hell learning this way, and probably the only way to learn Chinese knowing its already difficult for Chinese people!

    But yeh, I think rote memorization is essential, because reading and writing are different – writing requires rote memorization to remember how to write (motor skill) – its probably the most difficult and frustrating part of the Chinese – I haven’t write Chinese for the past 20 years but I do read some Chinese news and books from time to time, so I can still read Chinese fluently, but I found it very difficult to write nowadays because I can’t remember how to write the word, but strangely if I see the word I can instantly recognize it. So that’s why I think reading and writing are completely different and are handle by different part of the brain. The only way to get better in writing is to keep practicing it… A LOT! So good luck with you and your study! I see you are already fluent in replying some of the Chinese posts in Chinese.


    Sara Reply:

    I’m like a Chinese school kid trying to rememeber all those characters, I just don’t have as much time and years as they do! ;) Luckily there are lots of softwares and methods these days to help you, but in the end it still counts your motivation and real hard work.

    Even my teachers sometimes forget how to write a character, so it must be even more common with other people, like what you said, it happens to you. In this way Chinese is very different from other languages, because I could never forget how to write in Finnish even thoug I wouldn’t write it for a long time.

    Fluent? Not quite there, but doing my best to improve!


  • party bars nyc

    I want to learn Mandarin Chinese to a very advanced level – to be able to understand, speak, read and write like a person who grew up in China. Please can you give me some specific advice? I am in my teens and I am learning now. I have access to many types of resources and my parents are fully supportive of my goal. I am wondering what I should do and how I can learn the language as well as I can? 谢谢!


    Sara Reply:

    Nice to hear about your goal! Is there any Chinese courses available for you at your high school or at a language school? Studying by your self is the most important facfor, but it can help a lot if you have a good teacher to help you. Being fluent or advanced is a big goal and first it’s better to make some smaller goals that you can achieve in a certain time frame. First think what you would like to achieve this year?

    p.s. This looks a lot like spam, but it’s a good questions so I let it through this time.


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