This ended up way too long, but you asked for it!
I’ve been interested in the Japanese language for at least 20 years now. When I ended up studying it every day, it turned out to be a passion that I don’t want to be without. Having seen the positive results of consistent and daily study, it’s much easier to find the drive to keep it up.
I mostly want to be able to read and watch native content.
At this point I can enjoy things like watching JP Let’s Play videos, and re-watching JP shows with JP subs. I can enjoy myself reading random manga, and played through two Ace Attorney games. My comprehension is very far from perfect, but I can follow along well enough to have a good time.
For me personally, comitting to a year sub on WK was the moment I started studying Japanese every day. Rather than my previous attempts at Japanese self-study (disastrous and laughably brief) WK gave me a clear goal. Do reviews. Do lessons.
Thanks to already having a WK study routine, I managed to include grammar, reading, and listening practice over time.
WK also has a huge amount of useful vocab, even though it is a kanji website first and foremost. Yes, outside vocab work is definitely necessary to be able to read comfortably, but even with just WK, something like the Ace Attorney games already became doable, when I got my grammar up to snuff.
Around higher N4 and solid N3 level is when I noticed a huge leap in my general comprehension, espcially since my slow grammar start meant I had already progressed through most of WK. With my grammar woes, I got to that point now-ish - about 18/19 months after I started studying every day.
Everyone is different, of course, with different circumstances, but some things that worked for me:
I tried to remind myself often that this wouldn’t always be fun. Consistency was and is very important for me in order to make good progress. I repeated to myself that there would be times that reviews would be that last thing I’d want to do. But a habit is hard to build and easy to erase, so I try to stay consistent. I often actively learn on the weekdays, and just do review maintenance on weekends, but I always do something. In the past, one day of telling myself it was okay to do nothing turned into… well, we don’t need specifics. Many. Months or years.
Be wary of burn out. I added and dropped additions to my study routine numerous times because my chosen load meant studying felt like pulling teeth. Several weeks of trying for force myself onward through that feeling would make me want to throw in the towel. Slowing down might not feel good sometimes, but if you end up turning your back on studying for days / weeks / months, you know you definitely won’t be making progress. I chose to gamble on consitency.
You’re the best judge of that, of course! With the SRS stages, the more items you have in Apprentice and Guru, the more reviews you have. A common piece of advice given, and something that helped me, is to keep your Apprentice items around 100. This can keep your review numbers in check a bit more. Feels like too much? Less Apprentice items, then. Feel like you can handle more? More Apprentice items.
Nothing wrong with that! You can stop doing lessons for a while and just review what you have in the hopper right now if you think it’s still too tenuous.
Thank you, and you too! Hope to keep seeing you around the Community.