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Staying motivated

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Staying motivated

Postby swtwentyman » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:59 am

So far this year I've been having a lot of trouble motivating myself to read, and this is starting to take a toll on my Latin. It's not that I have no interest in reading -- whenever I do I feel better for it and I get something out of it intellectually -- and in a way this feeling down is silly because I've done a bit almost every day this month, though mostly small selections just to keep the flame lit until such time as I really get back into it.

I've been going through the Anabasis with a fellow Textkitter who's unfortunately in the same boat as me. The Latin work (the Pro Milone) is quite a bit harder than the Greek and I can tend to put it off. On top of all of this I've been much absorbed in another interest of mine.

Does anybody have any advice in getting more motivated and staying so? I'm starting to feel like my interest is slipping away and I don't want that to happen.

I've always found that opening the book is often half the battle; it's just the getting there. Thanks.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby Nathanial » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:49 pm

This problem has plagued me since forever and it a constant battle against my worse nature. I have accumulated many ideas, some better than others. In no particular order:

Remember the Procrastination Equation: Motivation = (Expectancy x Value)/(Impulsiveness x Delay)
Small Steps: Set a daily goal of reading one line. Two will now not be too painful.
Coffee.
IF-THEN chains.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby truks » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:40 am

swtwentyman wrote:I've always found that opening the book is often half the battle; it's just the getting there.


I've struggled with this, too. One thing that has helped me over the last year or two is realising I don't have to fight the battle every day if reading and drill work are already established as parts of my daily routine.

The way I did this was to piggyback study habits on existing habits. For example, if you take a coffee break or walk the dog every afternoon, you could commit to reading for ten or fifteen minutes before the break/walk, or delay the break/walk by that amount of time in order to read. For me, it's been easier to integrate new study habits if they happen before, rather than after, established habits.

I also prefer to read early in the morning because it gives me the feeling throughout the day that I've already accomplished something by meeting that goal.

Good luck!
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby nomen » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:11 pm

You could try switching for a while to a text that offers distinct, small units of reading, like the Periochae of Livy (ancient summaries of all the books of his history):
http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/livy/liv.per.shtml
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby swtwentyman » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:38 pm

Thank you all very much. I've tried out some of you all's advice and it seems to be working, even if today I was ready and raring to go but at the same time some guy was speaking at a prayer breakfast and I got sidetracked. There's always tomorrow.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby Dante » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:17 pm

why do people learn so much in a school setting? Because of deadlines! Take a class, get a tutor: there's nothing like a deadline to get your a** motivated.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby Laurentius Mons » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:42 pm

I think one good thing to do is to choose a text that is easy enough for you to read fluently, because then reading won't be a struggle anymore. I mean sure, you can push yourself and work through Cicero, but you could also pick up the Gesta Romanorum, the Historia Apollonii regis Tyri or even Harrius Potter or Insula Thesauria and come back to Pro Milone later. Reading doesn't have to be hard.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby swtwentyman » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:16 am

Laurentius Mons wrote:I think one good thing to do is to choose a text that is easy enough for you to read fluently, because then reading won't be a struggle anymore. I mean sure, you can push yourself and work through Cicero, but you could also pick up the Gesta Romanorum, the Historia Apollonii regis Tyri or even Harrius Potter or Insula Thesauria and come back to Pro Milone later. Reading doesn't have to be hard.


Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered the Gesta Romanorum; I had always followed the "weighlifter" strategy of choosing progressively more difficult texts but I can see how that may have its own pitfalls.

I considered Lingua Latina but decided against it -- too elementary and expensive to justify a purchase -- but there are several people here who have used it to refresh themselves. Do you (or does anybody) have an opinion on that? I'm leaning towards no unless I'm pretty convinced.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby Dante » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:10 am

swtwentyman wrote:
Laurentius Mons wrote:I think one good thing to do is to choose a text that is easy enough for you to read fluently, because then reading won't be a struggle anymore. I mean sure, you can push yourself and work through Cicero, but you could also pick up the Gesta Romanorum, the Historia Apollonii regis Tyri or even Harrius Potter or Insula Thesauria and come back to Pro Milone later. Reading doesn't have to be hard.


Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered the Gesta Romanorum; I had always followed the "weighlifter" strategy of choosing progressively more difficult texts but I can see how that may have its own pitfalls.

I considered Lingua Latina but decided against it -- too elementary and expensive to justify a purchase -- but there are several people here who have used it to refresh themselves. Do you (or does anybody) have an opinion on that? I'm leaning towards no unless I'm pretty convinced.


you can find a pdf of LL at bookzz.org
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby Laurentius Mons » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:45 pm

I had always followed the "weighlifter" strategy of choosing progressively more difficult texts but I can see how that may have its own pitfalls.


I think choosing more and more difficult texts is a very good strategy, but I'd say that when reading feels like drudgery, you've probably moved on to quickly and should go back to easier texts. And I highly recommend reading LLPSI and the supplemental volumes (e.g. Fabulae Syrae and Epitome Historiae Sacrae) even if you find them very easy. This will give you lots of reading practice, hundreds of pages actually, and I'm sure that even if you know Latin pretty well already you'll still find lots of new words and phrases in there that you didn't know before. At least that's been my experience.
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby jeidsath » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:54 pm

1. Watch a classical play on YouTube
2. Put together a model of a ballista
3. Memorize some famous sayings in the original and translation
4. Listen to Gibbon on audible.com
5. Read through a text in translation
6. List to Rouse's Iliad on audible.com
7. Wander through a used book store and find something interesting
8. Flip through the Oxford book of Greek Verse (with the translation at hand)
9. Have a conversation about Plato with a friend
10. Start an interesting thread on Textkit
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby swtwentyman » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:34 am

The books came except for the Fabulae Syrae. I'm still getting used to the medieval Latin in the Gesta Romanorum but I've read the first three stories; I hope to try to read one a day, as some do with their devotionals, but once I run into the multi-page walls of texts I might have to reconsider that. At any rate the difficulty has varied so far (the second story took some time but the third -- the story of the adultress being pushed off the cliff and surviving -- I got through almost without stopping) and the material seems interesting enough.

Familia Romana came and it looks pretty good and I hope to get started this week. I downloaded the PDF of Roma Aeterna from the website Dante posted; it doesn't look nearly as bad as its reputation (though if I were reading it with only Familia Romana to prepare I might feel differently), which soothes my ego, and I might get some benefit from it. At any rate I'll decide when I'm through FR whether to buy it. Is it worth it?

Thanks to all who responded. I'm out of my Greek rut, too, with a vengeance. It seems that I've gotten through this "crisis".
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Re: Staying motivated

Postby cb » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:37 am

Hi, just to add to this, I think it's different for each person –see what in general kicks you into starting new things. Try to remember back to what it was that got you interested in classics, and repeat that over and over. For me, watching documentaries is an easy way to kick me back into a particular area – I'll watch say Michael Wood's documentary on the search for the Trojan war, and it will always make me put down Plato or whatever I'm reading and get back into the Iliad yet again. Find what it is for you and just keep pressing that button over and over.

Once you've gotten back into it, the other thing is to avoid de-motivators. I think a key de-motivator is finding that you just don't understand what you're reading, even though you separately understand each of the parts (the vocab, the grammar, syntax, etc.) I came up with a useful rule of thumb to help get over this – it works for me, I don't know if it will work for anyone else though. I basically noticed that when reading Greek when I was just about to fall asleep I'd recognise all the words but couldn't put them together in my head. I don't know any of the cognitive science behind this but I imagined I had two reading "computers" in my brain – a "fast" one identifying all the surface details of the words (vocab, endings, syntax, etc.) and a "slow" one that puts it all together into comprehensible input – the "slow" one fails for me before the "fast" one when falling asleep.

I then thought to myself, maybe a key difficulty around reading some sentences in real classical texts that throw me (even when I know all the elements making it up) is a flaw in my process – I'm not giving my "slow" computer enough time in reading, i.e. perhaps I'm pacing my classics reading off my "fast" rather than "slow" computer, moving on from a word as soon as my "fast" computer has (instantly basically) recognised everything it needs to recognise – and then most of the way though the sentence I'd sometimes get stuck...

So now when reading I basically take a few seconds on each word even after I feel like I've fully grasped it, giving my "slow" computer enough time – it seems painfully slow, but since then reading has been much easier and I don't get the de-motivating experience as much of reading sentences that just don't seem to make sense.

So perhaps try this – read all the vocab and syntax notes before starting a text (i.e. pre-work), then read your text slowly, taking for each word say an extra 2-3 seconds even after you've got the word all figured out in your head (i.e. give your "slow" computer a chance to catch up to your "fast" one). Don't consciously think of all the ways that word might work in the sentence, just let your brain process away in the background. It works for me: I'd be interested to hear whether anyone else finds it helpful.

Cheers, Chad
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