I have a bad memory, and the mnemonics do not help me much. I feel writing the kanjis helps me a bit, but unfortunately, I do not have much time to write all the kanjis on my list of critical condition items or the ones on the apprentice level. So my question is, which of them should I focus on?
Any help is welcome.
I’d start with squashing the leeches, otherwise they’ll keep dropping down to apprentice and pop up dozens of times during the review sessions (literally they can survive years). Also, after a review session I’d advice you to go over all the items you’ve got wrong and reread the mnemonic again (if you keep failing the same item over and over try coming up with a different mnemonic - or anything that can help you remember the item).
Human brain/memory works better if we engage it with different types of stimuli, not just visuals. Writing helps, but is time consuming. Try enabling audio playback after each review. Also, you can try pronouncing reading/meanings out loud (or if you can’t then at least move your tongue).
It sounds like you would benefit from a self-study userscript. Wanikani’s SRS timings are designed to be broadly work for the most people but they won’t necessarily work for everyone.
I believe some of the self-study userscripts allow you to make your own quiz, whenever you want, and they generally organize them by current level and maybe even critical/non-critical. I’ve personally never used them but it sounds like, at least early on, you could benefit from more frequent quizzing.
You might wanna drop your pace to lower the apprentice count and thus removing some off the pressure, while studying up on the severe leeches through self study (the script is a good addition for that).