For me, the biggest difficulty in mastering a foreign language is writing.
Yes, speaking can be tough (being a at-the-moment thing) and terrifying (what if I embarrass myself?!) but most of the time it’s conversational, meaning that the grammar and vocabulary used are relatively simpler and shorter.
When it comes to writing, it’s more formal, where higher-order (?) grammar are commonly used and there’s just SO many different styles of writing – diary / summary / essay / news articles etc. More often than not, writing is not a skill that is focused on when we learn foreign languages and I know many people around me who says “I just want to learn how to speak!”. Most of us don’t even write much in our native languages, what more foreign languages!
Like many others, my writing skills are also sub-par compared to the rest of the skillsets and even though I try to practice writing by having a Korean blog / write on lang-8.com, it’s a skill I don’t practice often enough. I end up writing decent diary-like blog entries and that’s it.
Although there are an increasing number of supposed 쓰기 books in the bookstore to help writing, most of them have been relatively disappointing, especially for self-learners. I have yet to find a writing book that I reallyyy like (although there are still a couple of unopened books on my shelf) so I’m still looking around.
It’s hard to come up with a 쓰기 book though, especially one that would allow someone to self-study without a teacher. Exercises would have to be broken down into smaller bits (no point asking me to write a whole essay out of nowhere), sample answers would have to be provided and the purpose and direction of the book would have to be clear (what kind of writing etc).
I’ve just started on 서강 한국어 쓰기 4 and so far, it’s been really good (just a few pages in). I’m enjoying the exercises, but would have to use it more before I can do a decent review on it! (sorry for the wait!)
Working through the book has made me realise how badly I suck at writing (HAH) and I still can’t get over my 62 score in the 쓰기 section of TOPIK. /hides