A quick one today, as I have lots of getting back to normal to do after ten days of the ‘Spring Sale’ (which ended last night).
There are over two hundred orders to check and ‘mark as completed’, for example. Plus there’s the accountancy to catch up on, the bank account to balance, and so on.
In a week or two, I’ll be writing to individual ebook buyers asking them to leave a review.
And there are new ebooks waiting to be published, some great stuff just itching to get out!
Mio dio, it goes on and on. And Pasqua’s still several weeks off.
One consequence of being so busy with the promotion was that my normal study routine became impossible to maintain.
Because Swedes only work weekdays (Saturday and Sunday are for taking the kids out walking in the woods, grilling moose steaks, and so on), I mostly managed to keep up with the easy Swedish news (two different versions – one on TV, one on a website), even though that takes me about forty-five minutes each day from Monday to Friday.
But from the beginning of the Sale on March 20th, with mailings scheduled each day and orders coming in around the clock, I found myself with no time for anything else.
My morning routine is coffee in bed, and fifteen or twenty minutes with the Swedish TV news website.
Lately, that’s been reduced to a quick scan of the headlines before throwing back the duvet in a determined manner and swigging coffee in front of the computer.
Most evenings I manage a least a couple of articles from Le Monde’s fine app ‘La Mattinale’, but days have passed without me opening it regularly (though I did manage ‘LE SEXE SELON MAÏA‘ yesterday…)
By the middle of last week, I knew I was in trouble – Duolingo had given up sending me daily naggy emails about continuing with their beginner’s Spanish course.
You get to the point when their app decides you’re a lost cause, so the nag frequency is racheted back to ‘occasional’, a sure sign of failure.
Studying languages is indeed a nice way to pass your days – but it’s inevitable that, sometimes, life will catch up with you.
And when that happens, even the most carefully-constructed study routines can come come crashing down!
So, what to do when you’ve just stopped?
Start again, obviously.
Though that’s easier said than done, as you’re doubtless aware by now.
Assuming, however, that ‘stopped means stopped’, negotiations are over, and a ‘hard’ ending really is the most probable outcome, all need not be lost.
IF you’ve been paying attention to building good learning habits, then even if you’re not actively studying, you should be able to keep learning.
Learning and studying are not, after all, synonymous.
You can study but not learn, for example. I did it all the time at uni.
And vice versa.
Given enough input (text, audio, etc.), your brain should continue the job of piecing together what it reads or hears, constantly working away in the background to construct a ‘model’ of the language you’re learning, ever engaged in tweaking the components until the whole meshes into something that, more or less, functions.
IF you’re in the habit of listening and reading, not as ‘studying’ but as part of your normal life, you should still manage to raise your linguistic game.
IF you are listening/reading as part of your normal life (besides studying, I mean), then you can’t NOT improve.
That’s my strategy, anyway.
For example, this morning, while tidying up after the Sale, washing the dishes, cleaning my teeth, and so on, I listened to nearly two hours of Swedish radio.
Including a phone in program in which some moron was arguing that fossil fuels don’t cause climate change because, after all, they come from plants, don’t they?
If I’m going to listen to nonsense at all, it might as well be Swedish nonsense, which at least will do me some good.
And over the weekend, despite the ‘end of offer’ frenzy at OIC HQ, there was still time to catch the Saturday night beats on TRT FM (Turkish pop).
Being subjected each mealtime to what my wife calls ‘wailing music’ has, I’m proud to say, resulted in my kids, little linguistic savants that they are, finally being able to distinguish Swedish and Turkish (their initial inability to do so was alarming given that they have a Swedish grandmother…)
So there you go – how to keep learning even when you’ve stopped studying?
Build a habit of using the language you’re learning even when it’s not ‘study’.
When you eat, you listen to the radio in Italian, for example.
You have to eat, don’t you?
And on Saturday nights, let your hair down to a different groove.
People will think you’re strange, but your brain will thank you.
A mercoledì, allora.
Or do both, the former as study and the later while doing other things.
It might take a year or two, but if you put in the hours, you’ll get there sooner or later.