SSi Forum

Practicing enough and finding the time


When I’ve first started I had plenty of time and got quickly through level one. These last first weeks of starting level 2 I’ve progressed slowly. I realised I was over doing it and took a break. Although I’m doing the challenges less frequently I’m finding I’m remembering things well now so I’m not too concerned that I’m going slower.
I’m more concerned that I’ve gone from regularly practising Welsh in my head and watching a lot to nothing. I did take a break and work is more demanding this time of year.

I do feel that it can be difficult to find time to practice when you’re doing other things. I’m doing a novel writing challenge this month which is taking most of the free time I can carve.

Im going to try and practice on Slack when I can but I’m wondering how often everyone practices their Welsh in their head or watches and listens to Welsh. I’m trying to find a good balance. I can do too much and burn out but now I haven’t been doing enough. I know I’ll get back to where I was but advice is always welcome. I’ve missed my Welsh. But I needed that break.


First of all, I would say…be gentle with yourself, you’ve been doing great so far. :wink:

I’ve always been really bad at doing a little bit every day, since I was at school. At some point I’ve stopped trying or worrying for not being able to do as everybody said it was “the right way” and found my own.
This is what I do with Welsh:

  1. I set an interesting goal and challenge, within a reasonable but not too long amount of time (from one week to about 90 days).
    For example: studying Welsh at least an hour every day for 15 days in a row (like before going on holiday), finish a SSiW level, spending a week in Wales speaking Welsh every day 3 months from now.

  2. I make a list of things I can do to reach it. In my case, again, fewer things work better than a little bit of many different ones. For example: SSiW Challenges and watching S4C rather than SSiW and Duolingo and Slack and reading books and articles and listening to the radio and watching S4C and practicing writing, and studying grammar!
    I just can’t do that and end up feeling frustrated and demoralized.
    Since it’s for a short period of time and a small list of things to do, I’m very likely to be able to keep at it.

  3. At the end of that period or if events or work (or whatever) become overwhelming I just take a break, for as much time as I need.
    It doesn’t mean I totally ignore Welsh. I just don’t try to learn more. I just do things that I enjoy or follow my curiosity, whenever I feel like. Like listening to a few songs or watching something on S4C.

In the meantime, I start thinking of a new challenge, and when I feel ready…I go back to number 1!

It’s been working well so far, considering I’ve never even had a practical reason to learn this language! :smiley:


I’m also not very good at doing the “little bit every day”. I try to, but some days other things get in the way. I have had a lot of success with aiming to do an average of a certain amount a day. In my case 45 minutes, but if you’re not retired and you’re busy with other things, you could set it at less. So the days I do the 2 hour class or 90 minutes chatting in the cafe makes up for the days I don’t do any.

Of course I do love spreadsheets and I’m a total geek about recording things, but just a notebook to jot down how much time was spent doing something to help your Welsh would be enough to work out a daily average.

I also like your ideas of a specific challenge. Right now I’m using the NaNoWriMo enthusiasm to try writing a story in Welsh. I’m not trying for the 50k in a month – I’ve never managed that in English! – but today I wrote about 125 words and it’s helping me practice writing a little more formally. I know Bronwen has done some amazing speaking challenges, like finding people in different countries to speak Welsh with and getting people to play musical instruments.


Good luck with your story. Maybe once NaNoWriMo is over I could set myself a Welsh challenge. Maybe not as crazy as NaNoWriMo though.


Good luck with NaNoWriMo! The most I’ve ever managed (in English) was around 35,000 words.


Thanks. I’ve done in twice before a while ago. 2011 I think


(crashes in) Did someone say NANO?!
The most I’ve done was 28,748 words, and that was in March, so for Camp NaNo rather than the November stress fest event.

Anyway, moving back to the original subject, I tend to be horrible at keeping up with stuff. Cleaning, organizing the mess in that one drawer I store random stuff in, putting away laundry after I take it out of the dryer, working on stories and doing research for them, taking walks more often, et cetera, et cetera.
As a result, I go forever without doing a challenge, then do one session. Then I do nothing for a while, and then I go through a brief period of listening to challenges two or three times each, and getting through a couple of those. And then I do nothing again… :roll_eyes: Yeah, I’m really awful about most things that would be labelled as productive.
Of course, I listen to Welsh music, sometimes trying to lip-sync, and I lurk on the SSI forums. Sometimes I play with the language in my head, trying to form sentences. Or I type random stuff in Welsh instead of actually working on the blog post or story I have open.
Granted, the latter isn’t too terribly new. I take my writing so seriously, I’ve been known to name my chapters “Chapter I Hope Leads to Ulmaria”. And when I can’t think of what to write next, I might jokingly have my characters say “Oh, I remember now. I was going to give you a random chore the writer failed to come up with.” I mean, the non-serious dialogue gets deleted and I think of something halfway decent to write instead, but still. Titles like “Someday I’ll Give My Chapters Real Names”, however, might sit around for a long while. The early stages of drafting tend to be filled with silliness. (And there I go, right back to the subject of writing.)


:grin: I can relate. I’m like that with my writing but try to be productive or ill never reach the goals I keep making and failing at. :rofl:


Good luck with NANO. I have completed it twice and one year even ended up with a book in print - (self published). Anyhow. I’m doing NANO aswell this year and will put my welsh on the ‘Special Treat’ Category for November.

When I need a break from writing I will do a challenge or two.

Life is always a mix of high times and low times in any sphere and this is true with learning welsh. You only have 24 hours a day and it looks like you are using them fully.


Thank you. I’m surprised how many people on here are writers! Good luck with NaNoWriMo. I’ve caught up with Rownd a Rownd now one of my NaNo treats could be gwylio rhaglen yn Gymraeg. Syniad da! Good idea :slight_smile:


I practise for 20
Minutes a day on my way to work and I’m pretty good - but I joined my first hangout last week and was like the rabbit in the headlights. I just freeze :cold_sweat:


Yeah that happens I think the more you do it the easier it gets. I’ve had one practice and I need to do more


I really like your idea, Gisella. So much so that I’m going to implement it, starting this week. And on a more general note, if there’s one thing SSiW has taught me (apart from a surprising amount of Welsh) it’s that letting the brain rest between steep climbs is a powerful technique.


Yes, i did level 1 OK, though was rather poor at Slack etc! I’m 3/4 way through Level 2, and have just stopped - i don’t recall more than 40% of what I’m supposed to have learnt form those earlier lessons … I want to get going again, but feel I should go back and go over stuff … but how far back? The indecision as to where to restart is meaning i end up doing nothing :frowning:


What if you look over the vocab lists and see which ones are unfamiliar and go over those? Most of the time things are repeated so maybe go back over the last lesson or two and see how you go.


Hi @AlisonH

It will be in there somewhere - even if your brain has only partly processed it. I’d go back to the last one divided by five eg 20,15, 10 or 5…if you are not saying anything in the gaps…go back one more in that sequence…but give yourself a fair chance on it, as what you have done will not be lost…it is just a question of encouraging it back.

Rich :slight_smile:


Just redo the last challenge of level 1 a couple of times. It contains such a lot of what we all learned up to that time. Hope that helps, as we all have peaks and troughs in our memories.