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Miriam
How to italki: writing notebook entries
If you're completely new to italki, read the beginner's guide first: https://www.italki.com/discussion/203952
The intention of this post is to help you, to make the most of the notebook section. 

1. What is the notebook section?
This is where you can post texts (= notebooks) that you have written and receive corrections by native speakers and fellow learners. Don't post texts for correction in the discussion or answers section.
Read here italki's instructions regarding the notebook: https://support.italki.com/hc/en-us/articles/206353288-What-is-the-italki-Notebook-

2. Why should I write texts in my target language?
Writing is an excellent output oriented learning method. It allows you to train the grammatical features and use the vocabulary that you have learnt. It's similar to speaking but you have more time for formulating your thoughts, looking up words, you can do it on your own time and it's easier to receive feedback as well as having this feedback and your progress documented. Read more here: https://www.ouinolanguages.com/tips/importance-of-writing/

3. How do I post a text in the notebook section?
You have to set the language that you're learning as target language in your profile. When you post your text, choose a title, write directly in the window or copy and paste the text from somewhere else and choose the language in which the text is written. You can also post a picture if you like. 

4. My target language is not in the language list!
There are around 7000 languages in the world but unfortunately not all languages are in the list. There are some constructed languages like Klingon and High Valyrian but if you want to post something in Niue or Lushootseed you have no other choice but to post your text under "other". 

5. Can I use a translation software for writing my text?
Don't write your text in your native tongue and then let a translation software like Google Translate or Deep-L translate it. Your text will be full of mistakes, may even be incomprehensible and you didn't learn anything. Just use whatever you know (yes, you can look up words or check a verb conjugation) and write the text in your target languages using your own abilities. It's ok though, to then do a reverse translation back to your native tongue using a translation software. Even though this translation may also be faulty but it might give you some hints where your spelling or grammatical constructions were totally off.

6. Should I use a spellchecker for writing my text?
Although it's best to first write the text to the best of your own abilities, it's advisable to use a spell checking program for the finished text, before you post it, so that correctors can focus on what's important.

7. What if my target language has several varieties?
It's advisable to indicate, in which variety your text is written, so if it's important for you that your text is corrected following the rules of European Portuguese (and not Brazilian) or British English (and not American), then say so in the first line above your text. This way, correctors won't correct words that might be wrong in one variant but correct in the one you're learning.

8. What can I write about?
About anything really. You can write a diary, train for exam essays, write about books you read or movies you saw. Here are some websites that provide writing prompts:

9. My text got corrected. What now?
First of all, thank the kind soul that corrected your text. The correctors are teachers or fellow learners who donate their free time and knowledge to help others. If their work doesn't get appreciated, they might stop correcting. Then carefully check the corrections. What are mere typos, what are mistakes you repeatedly make? Note down the things you want to be more careful about in the future (for instance, the difference between there, their and they're in English, ser and estar in Spanish, or Dativ and Akkusativ in German). If you don't understand a correction, post a comment and ask the corrector for clarification. Most correctors are happy to answer further questions because that means that you have actually read the correction.

10. Nobody corrects my text! Why?
If you're posting in a language that's high in demand like English or German, it can happen that your entry gets drowned under the flood of other posts but in general most notebooks get corrected and if not, it can have the following reasons:
- The text contains too many mistakes. Use a spell checker, carefully proofread your text and then correct it or post a revised version.
- The text is too long. Divide into several shorter parts.
- The text is too boring. Interesting topics tend to catch the attention of good correctors.


Apr 19, 2019 3:51 PM
Comments · 24

A little more advice.

If you have written your text/notebook in a program offsite (for example, Microsoft Word) you can copy and paste your writing into italki's Notebook Details section BUT you should paste it as "plain text". 
If you do not paste it as plain text, you may have some formatting or character limit problems.

April 19, 2019

Brillant Miriam. Good job once again. 

Richard: I think that Italki team should expand character limits in all sections much more.

April 19, 2019
@Casey

I'm glad you liked the links to the writing prompts. I mostly get my inspiration by things I see or read but sometimes I go days inspirationless. I think I should also try out more adventurous prompts.

Some more writing prompts:

http://reallifelanguage.com/reallifelanguageblog/2016/08/09/writing-prompts-to-practice-in-any-language/

https://takelessons.com/blog/Spanish-writing-prompts-z03

https://eslgold.com/writing/topics/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/learning/over-1000-writing-prompts-for-students.html

If the previous link doesn't show the whole article, use this one: https://www.google.de/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/learning/over-1000-writing-prompts-for-students.amp.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts

https://www.writingforward.com/writing-prompts/creative-writing-prompts/25-creative-writing-prompts

https://self-publishingschool.com/fiction-creative-writing-prompts/

https://www.writersdigest.com/prompts

April 20, 2019

Just a quick question... how do you make links here?

I'm trying to redirect newcomers to your guide but the link appears as plain text:

https://www.italki.com/discussion/203952


April 19, 2019
Nice how-to article, as usual, Miriam. I just wanted to add that for point 10, “Nobody corrects my text! Why?”, it is within the realm of possibility that the notebook entry has nothing to correct. That’s right — it’s quite possible for a non-native speaker to write better than the average native speaker. I’ve seen notebook entries that most native speakers would not have written as well. That doesn’t mean the writing can’t be improved, but you might have a long wait ahead of you until the right corrector comes along.

July 8, 2020
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Miriam
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)