If you notice on my lang-8 my writing has improved a lot and on one of my entries this Japanese person had said you know I can’t say that your writing is wrong or right because you have your own writing style. Of course within that entry there were legitimate mistakes or parts where there was a more natural way to express something but there definitely were parts that supported what this person had said. ONE OBSERVATION that you can make is that lang-8 did not improve my writing. I did not religiously force myself to write entries into lang-8 every week or every month. there are some long stretches of blanks on lang-8 and i can tell you that i never EVER EVER EVER ANKIED anything i wrote on lang-8 whether it’s my writing or someone else’s correction of my writing.
i hate people who shit on input-based methods especially when they arrogantly criticize it based on their TINY AMOUNT OF INPUT. i phrase it this way because people don’t seem to understand A LOT OF INPUT. I AM Speaking from experience feeling frustrated being stuck at the intermediate or advanced plateau where i did spend a lot of time in japanese but I still had not passed this elusive “threshold”. also i had my personal circumstances that prevented me from spending time doing things i wanted to do including things in japanese. it took me longer to reach this elusive threshold point. or maybe it was the mcd format that really made an impact. That was something that organically transpired from me finally coming to terms with my wasting time on anki whether it’s making cards or doing them because the shit was not working.
Of course ultimately you have to write a lot if you want to improve at writing so you can’t just rely on input but input is still a part of outputting.
so my advice for using lang-8 to improve your Japanese is to use lang-8 for it is. You can write something and gauge how correct or natural your Japanese is. Don’t try to memorize the corrections or add the corrections to anki. Why does anyone think that sounds like a good plan? It is a site where people correct your Japanese… depending on the individual’s level it could be anywhere from fixing minor mistakes to making something unintelligible into something intelligible. PLEASE do not waste YOUR TIME and other people’s time writing unintelligible giberish or bs shit like watashi ha honyara desu. nihongo wobenkyou siteimasu. anime ga suki desu. If you write about something boring and generic no one will want to read it. IF no one ends up correcting your entry you really can’t blame them. IF you can’t understand anything don’t bother outputting. You’re just better off inputting if you’re those people writing unintelligible entries. Once you can intput decently, find something you want to write about passionately and write about it. I submit entries to lang-8 sporadically but when I do it’s usually about a topic that I want to write about. It’s nice to see my old lang-8 entries and to see how good or bad my Japanese is. Sometimes I’m surprised I used a certain word or some obscure grammar thing I was into at the time due to the influence of JIN or something else.
What I attribute to my improved writing at lang-8 is a lot of input and output (talking to myself, writing) NOT trying to memorize lang-8 corrections by heart or word for word. input a lot, output a lot
ANOTHER tip is DO NOT USE THE DICTINOARY TO LOOK UP WORDS while you write. one reason is lang-8 is kind of a record of how much you grew so if you go out of your way to look up all these fancy words that you didn’t know then and you don’t know now to make your entry seem better than what your actual skills are it kinda defeats the purpose. plus it’s really obvious when people do that or use the thesaurus for thier native language. don’t have the motivation to show0off or whatever because you’re wasting time that could be put towards input. it’s a just poor use of your time.
I can understand looking up a word or two to write in your lang-8 (if a word is really necessary or if it’s on the tip of your tongue) but do not waste your time looking up countless words because you wont’ remember them. also i consider 5 years olds to be fluent in whatever language they speak natively because they’ve spent 5 unadulterated years with their language so even if their vocab isn’t huge they know how to use what they know really well like grammar or gion when it comes to japanese/korean children. you should be practicing what you know and try to maximize the possibilities. it’s not just about the number of words you know.
I loved what steve kaufman wrote in his latest blog entry. It’s kinda related to what I wrote about the futility in trying to consciously memorize corrections.