I just discovered a great language learning tool!
Lang-8 is a cool website where you can post your writing in the language that you're learning (whatever it is), & native-speaking members will make corrections for you. The best part is that it's totally FREE!
I've been writing on Lang-8 for a couple of weeks now, both in Chinese & Spanish, & have gotten a lot of great feedback from other members on the site, which I can use when I'm writing future entries. If you're curious, you can see what I've been writing here.
It's a lot of fun to try to write something in Chinese. It helps me step out just beyond my comfort zone, which is important for language learning. & I get almost immediate feedback on what I write, when it's still fresh in my mind.
It's also interesting to be writing in Spanish after almost a year & a half away from it. I miss speaking Spanish, & it's interesting to see the mistakes I'm making now. This is a great way to get back to using the language on a daily basis while interacting with native speakers again.
You may be thinking, "I wouldn't know what to write." Don't worry - you can write anything you want. Even if you just write something short, like what you had for breakfast, it's fine - & people will correct you!
You might try writing something as long as a college essay if you're so inclined. However, I've found that I prefer to read & make corrections on other people's writing when it's shorter. It's much easier & more interesting for me to manage a short writing than trying to read a long essay.
But really, it doesn't matter what you write, just that you're writing in the language that you're studying. It's up to you how you practice.
Here's my entry on Halloween in Chinese:
Once it's posted, other members on the site will read & correct it - for FREE! Sometimes there are differences of opinion, so more than one person will post a correction, which helps you understand even more how the language works.
It looks like I made a few mistakes on this one. The corrections are here in red.
Of course, it's a community of language learners, so you can pay back those that help you by making corrections on whatever they write in English. You might even make some friends while you're at it. I've already "friended" several people who live in Shanghai through the website. Maybe one day soon we can get together for a face-to-face language exchange.
Go try it & tell me what you think!
(By the way, I don't work for Lang-8, nor do I get any compensation for saying how awesome they are.)