It seems some readers of this blog are CW beginners. I would like to tell those people a small hint toward head copy skill.
Some people discuss which is better to learn CW with, Farnworth or Koch method. I believe each is good and is not a matter to be chosen between. In remembering code, each way must be helpful. It is only the first step and far away from the ridge of head copying. The most difficult thing, especially for those of non English speakers and even for native speakers of English, is to copy without pencil and paper. Writing down the letters or the sentences is a skill necessary for a professional radio operator. We should understand what the other say to you at once. Or you could not converse with CW. Once you are trained to write down every letter and sentence, you would hardly get out of that habit which bothers you to converse freely. I have ever seen those people being troubled with this habit even if they were fluent English speakers.
You should understand the meaning of each word and consequently the meaning of the phrase or the sentence. We could hardly retain the recent memory of more than a few things at one time. You should convert those memory to the meaning of that words or sentences as soon as it shows up in your consciousness. In the form of meaning, you could remember much more things which are related with the other knowledge of things and sorted out them into long term memory. In this process, you will confirm what you understood before the present word or sentence. At the same time, you could expect what would follow to the present word or sentence. This interaction among the past, the present and the future will make conversation much easier. Without this, it would remain a hard work, meaningless and just for the writing muscles. You would hate receiving code in a few days.
Merle, ex K6DC, an elmer of mine, used to write in his autobiography, "Why would you write down what the others say in your usual conversation?". Code is not a language itself but is just a sign directly corresponding to a certain letter or symbol in actual language. Once you master the correspondence between code and letter/sign, you should go on in the same way on CW communication as in conversation in certain real language.