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PerpetualChange

Lost motivation after completing goals?

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PerpetualChange

Since I picked Chinese back up seriously a few years ago, my main motive other than general fluency was to be able to read novels. Specifically, I wanted to read a wuxia novels. I do not live in China, and my work does not involve China, nor are any family members or close friends Chinese. So, all I really have is books. 

 

Well, last year I read six Chinese novels. They were tough, but I got through them, including two Wuxia novels. And while it was enjoyable, I've struggled to enjoy reading books since I finished my last. I only have an hour or two of free time each day, and I've been thinking maybe it's time to just let go and do something else with it for a while. 

 

Don't know if anyone else has had a similar experience.

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Woodford

I think I've been confronted by a harsh reality whenever I meet a certain vocabulary size goal. Because a knowledge of 5000 words is branded as "HSK 6," I thought that if only I could learn those words, I will have arrived! That was laughably untrue, as reading the simplest book was a total slog. Then I thought, "maybe 10,000 words will be enough for basic literacy!" Well, sort of. I could get a rough idea of what I was reading, but still stumbled over tons and tons of unknown words. I am just now reaching 15,000 words, and I'm feeling the improvement, but I still encounter 1-2 unknown words on the average page of an average novel--just enough to be annoying and distracting. And because I'm getting diminishing returns from learning more words (because now I'm proceeding to the rarer ones, and new ones are progressively harder to come by), I assume I'll be in this "annoying" spot for a long time.

I've read 8 books over the past year and a half (with Cixin Liu's "Dark Forest" being the most recent one--it was great), and I'm feeling exhausted, and that my book reading is cutting into the time I need to use for other things. My plan was to keep plowing through the books until I could read them mostly unassisted by a dictionary, but I think I'll just set aside the books and pick through Chinese online newspaper articles for a while. Smaller chunks.

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imron

At six novels, I think you're close to the cusp of where reading long-form starts to become less of a chore and more of an enjoyment (for me it was around the 8-9 novel mark).

 

For sure take some of that time to do something else, but maybe keep 30 minutes for your reading.  It'll help keep all of your knowledge active.

 

At the end of the day, habit beats motivation.

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889

只一次登上珠峰。

 

You've achieved your goal! Move on to the next challenge. This is especially true if reading those novels is becoming a "I've started so I'll finish" chore.

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PerpetualChange
17 hours ago, Woodford said:

And because I'm getting diminishing returns from learning more words (because now I'm proceeding to the rarer ones, and new ones are progressively harder to come by), I assume I'll be in this "annoying" spot for a long time.

That is similar to me, where I put a text into the cta, and there are an extremely high number of 1-3 frequency words. 

 

17 hours ago, imron said:

For sure take some of that time to do something else, but maybe keep 30 minutes for your reading.  It'll help keep all of your knowledge active.

I might try and allow myself 15 minutes per day, and see if I can work back up to a point of enjoyment where I want to do more instead of other things.

 

3 hours ago, 889 said:

This is especially true if reading those novels is becoming a "I've started so I'll finish" chore

Yeah, I just quit a novel that I was 80 pages into because I just realized that I wasn't enjoying it and I didn't care where the plot was going. I had several backup options though so I'm okay. 

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imron
1 hour ago, PerpetualChange said:

Yeah, I just quit a novel that I was 80 pages into because I just realized that I wasn't enjoying it and I didn't care where the plot was going

This is a really useful thing to do!

 

I've done it for several Chinese books, and probably should have done it for several more.  Not every book will appeal to every reader.

 

1 hour ago, PerpetualChange said:

I might try and allow myself 15 minutes per day, and see if I can work back up to a point of enjoyment

Sounds like a good idea.  Choose a new book, scale back the time involved, and see where it takes you.

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艾墨本
4 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

That is similar to me, where I put a text into the cta, and there are an extremely high number of 1-3 frequency words. 

Once I got to this points I stopped choosing words based on frequency and more based on “oooh I want it” with an attitude of fun. That’s why I learned 陨石 (meteor) the other day. What are the chances I’ll see that again but I find fun and humor in that word.

 

23 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

and I've been thinking maybe it's time to just let go and do something else with it for a while. 

I think so. As an alternative to other’s encouragement to just keep reading, I prefer switching focus and collecting interesting books on the side. I was doing that for awhile and now that I have five books I REALLY want to read getting back into has been easy. I picked one up and read 20 pages decided it was meh and set it down. Picked up another and loving it and looking forward to reading it before bed each night.

 

as noted in my 2021 goal, I’ve also forgone learning vocabulary from reading novels and am just focusing on enjoying it with a dictionary by my side. 

 

 

 

 

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Weyland
7 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

Once I got to this points I stopped choosing words based on frequency and more based on “oooh I want it” with an attitude of fun.


Same. Though, though I tend to still use frequency and the several thousands of words I have in my flashcard collection as a guide. Like if the word isn't part of the HSK, PSC, 国考, or any other collection (like series/books I have watched/read) + it only has an entry in 1 or two dictionaries (taking in mind I own all the general purpose ones on Pleco) then it does give me indicator as to whether the word will be understood by the other person.
 

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PerpetualChange
14 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

I prefer switching focus and collecting interesting books on the side. I was doing that for awhile and now that I have five books I REALLY want to read getting back into has been easy.

This is a great idea! I

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Woodford
On 1/10/2021 at 7:34 PM, 艾墨本 said:

That’s why I learned 陨石 (meteor) the other day. What are the chances I’ll see that again but I find fun and humor in that word.


I, too, enjoy that word, and having just finished reading a sci-fi novel, I saw way more 陨石 than I could have ever hoped for! Of course, it proves to be really useful in that context.

It's also funny how, on the one hand, it can be a struggle to remember a common word, but on the other hand, there are certain rare words that stick with you forever.

For better or for worse, though I'm switching gears this year in other ways, I think I'll still be committing to the strategy of adding every single new word I encounter (whose meaning I can't derive from context) to my SRS flashcard deck in Pleco. Is that an effective method of self-torture? Why, yes!

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杰.克

Have you tried adding oil?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edit - lol - but in all seriousness wish you to rekindle the passion. For me, Chinese always has been motivated by social instincts. I barely ever sit down to study, unless ive got friends or colleagues who i get opportunity to speak to. It's difficult sometimes if you don't live in China. Ive organised my life however to the point though where I live and work with Chinese people. That way everyday i get chance to speak to them, and i get the rewards of improving social interaction, which gives me the motivation to study. Without that, i literally do nothing. So hoping you can find a Chinese friend to play a sport with? or work environment with a colleague? or move into a houseshare with some students? or language partners? or start livestreaming on tiktok and chat to peeps in chinese? Something to give your brain that dopamine hit of communicating with someone else. For me thats a wayyyyy betteer driver than reading a book/listening to a podcast etc (but we are all different i know)

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PerpetualChange
On 1/14/2021 at 5:51 PM, 杰.克 said:

Edit - lol - but in all seriousness wish you to rekindle the passion. For me, Chinese always has been motivated by social instincts. I barely ever sit down to study, unless ive got friends or colleagues who i get opportunity to speak to. It's difficult sometimes if you don't live in China. Ive organised my life however to the point though where I live and work with Chinese people. That way everyday i get chance to speak to them, and i get the rewards of improving social interaction, which gives me the motivation to study. Without that, i literally do nothing. So hoping you can find a Chinese friend to play a sport with? or work environment with a colleague? or move into a houseshare with some students? or language partners? or start livestreaming on tiktok and chat to peeps in chinese? Something to give your brain that dopamine hit of communicating with someone else. For me thats a wayyyyy betteer driver than reading a book/listening to a podcast etc (but we are all different i know)

 

Ha! I strike out on pretty much all of this. No Chinese friends or coworkers, and already happily domesticated in my own family, absolutely 0 interest in tiktok and other social media.

 

I got into Chinese because I wanted to be a Literature Professor and thought it was a fascinating focus for a PhD - given China's rising importance in the world and the west's relative ignorance of their traditions and culture.  This drive led me to complete a Chinese Literature Master's. I got cold feed about the PhD. This was in 2008, mind you... The economy recovered, but the situation for academics did not. 10 years later, it's even worse, with the most prestigious universities still almost completely ignoring sinological studies (aside from hosting a few token Chinese teachers).

 

I just give this as background, because it dovetails a bit into an earlier post someone made about the world situation killing their own motivation. For me, it's a bit of both - my personal situation taking me away from China, combined with the general decrease in value associated with Chinese in the eyes of my peers. For awhile, reading novels was a good goal as a stopgap - "I'll never be a professional, but it's still a cool hobby". Well, I'm there now, and I can't see anything else on the horizon.  It's time to let myself do something else. 

 

 

 

 

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