I tried hard. I really did. I bought the book and CD set 'Teach Yourself Arabic' and gave it a hard go.
Result: Utter, undisputable, failure.
I think this goes back to my theory that university textbooks are a better bet for self study if you can purchase the accompanying CD sets with it. The off the shelf bookstore versions are densely packed and seem to want to cover a lot of material with as little explanation as possible.
I took the Teach Yourself Arabic set on a 10 hour drive from Paris to Switzerland for a ski trip over the winter break. I studied the text before the trip, brought the CD's to play and repeat in the car, and found that the text in the book in no ways matches the audio practices on the book.
At one time, it started doing verbal exercises for letters and words not even in the chapter. At the end of chapter 1, the very posh british voice says, 'Did you spot the Sun and Moon Letters?... I sure bet you did. Good Job (!).' WTF??? What the hell is a Sun and Moon letter and where is this explained in the book? CURSE YOU TEACH YOURSELF ARABIC COURSE!
My friend Dan Belwood came along for the trip. I guess he has a better gift than I do for audio guides in arabic. Having nothing better to do, I just replayed the CDs of chapters1-30 three times over the trip and by the end he figured out how to count to 1000 and ask for directions to the gold market.
I ended up returning my €60 set (it sells in the US for about 25% of the price here), and bought myself the Assimil Arabic set (now i have to learn Arabic, through a book written in French). Now I can improve my French and learn arabic at the same time. Double win!
Nothing helps encourage my studying than the cake and tea set at my favorite Parisien café called Le Loir dans le Thiere. I went through my new Assimil book and managed to write out and memorize the letters of the arabic alphabet by writing them a dozen or so times on a piece of paper. Success!
If your teaching yourself to write in arabic, I liked this youtube post here.