I think most of my language-learning energy lately has been spent on actually studying, leaving me with no opportunity to write about it. That’s not a bad thing, but obviously makes for a rather boring blog!
Anyway, a quick note about Lang-8. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, you can post writing in languages you’re learning there and receive corrections from native speakers. In return, you should correct people who post things in your native language(s).
I love the site; I’ve used it before, years ago, before I stumbled into the language-learning blogosphere or anything like that. And it was useful — it always seemed intuitively useful to me, and when I actually wrote there, it was really helpful. But I have a strange resistance to using it. I’ll do tons of conversation exchanges and read a billion news articles before I write anything there. Maybe because you can sort of fumble your way through a conversation and in most cases no conversation partner is going to correct every single thing you get wrong.
But with writing, because it’s not spontaneous, it feels like it takes so much more effort, and if you keep making a lot of mistakes (particularly similar ones) then it feels disrespectful to the people who are correcting your posts, like you’re not doing a good enough job in absorbing the things they’re telling you, or not being serious enough. I feel a responsibility towards these people somehow!
I haven’t figured out a good system to capture the corrections I get, either. I know there’s a notebook system on there to paste in things, but I’d rather integrate the corrections into something like Anki. The problem is, unless it’s something very straightforward like vocabulary, I’m not sure I’m using Anki to its full potential. (I’m sure there’s a good way to do grammar review with Anki that fits with the way my mind organizes itself, but I haven’t been able to make myself experiment until I find it yet.)
I also fear that, if I start writing on Lang-8 again, I won’t be able to keep up writing there. And that would feel like a failure and… when I’m struggling mentally, I’m super failure-averse. Why start when I’m only going to stop again? (Writing that down, I can see how illogical that is, but that’s how the troublesome part of my brain works.)
So, feeling guilty for being a “bad” language learner and not being able to efficiently use the corrections I get — this seems to be enough to kick my avoidance into full gear. I really, really should use Lang-8. And yet… and yet.
How do you use Lang-8? Is there another tool or website that “everyone” says is amazing that you just can’t get into? How do you organize notes from these things? And how do you get over your resistance?
(Relatedly: Ramblings From An Imperfect Language Learner, which also includes some stuff about depression — always glad to see more people talking about that!)