I tend to read Japanese lyrics to my favorite songs, browse random pages on wikipedia, and of course read manga. It all depends on your level though! What are you trying to learn? Hiragana and katakana? If so, there are great quiz webpages to learn reading. Repeat over and over until you get it. It's really easy and doesn't take long at all until you start to recognize it well. Writing it? Just write the alphabet on graph paper over and over. When it comes to Kanji it's a little bit more difficult (or complex). Writing flashcards to practice with, using rikaikun (for Chrome) to get dictionary help on Japanese pages. Just when it comes to reading, or vocabulary in general, there are many good pages where you can learn a lot. Check out my section in the thread start (especially about japaneseclass.jp), and there are other sites that are even more detailed (but isn't completely free). About motivation though: I just think it's fun. That's motivating enough for me.