Saturday, January 12, 2013
Under the blankets, with a torch
As you might remember from last July, I wrote a post called I have begun Heisig Book 2. Kinda. At that stage - just 3 weeks after beginning - I was already behind 'schedule', and that was really disappointing for me because I managed to do the entire Book 1 in about 3 months. By August, just a month later, I was writing a post called Total failure - I simply did not have enough time to study Heisig, and decided that the little spare time I had should rather be spent doing flashcards rather than additional characters.
(To give you a sense of my time shortages, last year I did over 50 flights, which is approximately one business trip every second week. Ouch.)
Well, at the start of January this year, I picked up the book again, and began with character 1501.
What I'm doing differently - lessons from last time
1. No goals
I didn't set myself any goals - last time I actually found that disheartening. Instead I decided I would first get some momentum going, and get a sense of what time I would have available - and only then decide what goals to set myself. I still don't have a solid rhythm going, and I'm still not working through the book each day, but I'm enjoying the pressure-free attitude to Book 2, which means at least I'm enjoying it.
2. More revision
As I had remarked in the July article, Book 2 is more difficult - obviously. This means I really need more time with the revision because these more complex images can fade quite quickly in the beginning. I'm less panicked about finishing within a certain time frame, so revision actually feels like it's contributing to my goal of learning to read, rather than delaying my goal of getting through the book.
When I did Book 1, my focus was on being able to see the character and know it's meaning. This is, after all, my challenge when I'm trying to read. Learning to write was less important to me, so the need for English-to-Character is less. After focusing on C2E when studying the book, I loaded up an Anki flashcard deck, and my revision of the book was based on E2C. I found this an extremely enjoyable and efficient approach, and I'm doing the same ... learning C2E mainly while studying the book. Later on I will load up a flashcard pack for Book 2.
I was not enjoying learning Book 2 when I picked it up last year. Don't get me wrong ... I wanted to learn the book, and I remember how excited I was when the book was first delivered to me, but it was the wrong time, and the wrong attitude - and it failed. Now I'm enjoying it - and although I can't guarantee that I won't fail again, I at least feel like I'm on the right track.
5. Don't give up (in the long run)
I gave up in August, it was the wrong time for so many reasons. But I didn't give-up totally. I knew I would pick it up again, at the right time. And I did pick it up again. And this might be the right time :-)