Freewriting Edition n: the five Cs in my writing

What I aim to achieve for my writing and how I’m going to address it:

Before writing anything, I will start with “I want to….” (e.g. I want to tell readers about the publishers of this story) or put in a question to prompt my thinking (e.g. “What do readers need to know about the story?”). This tip has helped me so much with overcoming the writer’s block, as well as keep my thoughts from being disconnected when I had to take a break.

Because I start from what I’d like to communicate, rather than speaking from the third person, I feel that I’ve owned my messaging (which is manifested in my written words), which gives me the freedom to express it more easily.

My writing is a reflection of my thoughts. So until I have clarity in my thinking, my writing will be murky, foggy and muddy.

Many people use mind maps, or list, or post-it notes to visualise their ideas very clearly. They will all help.

Now that I’ve realised this. Before I write anything with a computer, I will sketch on papers the key things I want to say and draw lines between each point. I will actually (re)plan out what the structure of my chapter or key points to be included in each section. In fact, I have a big wall of post-it notes with the structure of my thesis. And my handbooks are now filled with handwritten notes of what I want to say.

I find this is one of many challenges with writing, especially dealing with (1) a large number of words (40k words for a Master’s thesis) which have been written (2) throughout a long period of study (2 or more years for a Master’s thesis). Somewhere along the way, something will get derailed very easily.

What I am trying to do now is always go back to my research questions, and make sure whatever written down will point back to the research questions. I would also like to finish the whole thesis, take a few days off and go back reading everything with a fresh mind. It sounds like an unbelievable luxury to have especially in the interest of time that I’m currently coping with.

The other tip I’ve learned (which I haven’t had any chance to do) is getting someone else to read the writing and critique.

No one wants to read something that has no focus and goes on and on. Once I’ve completed the whole thesis, my mission is to cut down all the unnecessary parts!

Tell the story! So easy, yet so hard.

I have read papers that are so easy to read and give me incredible motivation, and papers that I can’t even finish the first paragraph (cos I can’t understand a thing!) I strongly believe that the impact of your work lies in the receiving end of how it’s perceived and understood. So what’s the point of hitting all the technical marks, yet the readers don’t find it interesting?

This gives me the courage and confidence to keep my writing very simple, reducing the pressure that I have to sound academic by using sophistical words…

This episode of freewriting has taken me longer than I had planned. But hey…


of writing

Thanks for a random stumble, I’ve come across this Plain Writing Act of 2010. Also thanks to my lecturer at AUT, I now know there’s Gunning Frog Index (more details) and Writer’s Diet.

Comparison between my writing on my Profile assignment (one that we’re asked to write about someone else) vs. one in my thesis (on multimedia long-form journalism). Still find writing especially hard – and I will probably forever feel it this way.

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Schooling and gratefulness

In light of everything Schooling currently in the press, here’s a little nice poem to keep things in perspective.

Why is Schooling so special?
Because his dad said he is just an ordinary person.

Why is Schooling so inspirational?
Because he was inspired by a swimming giant.

Why is Schooling so fast?
Because he took his time to give thanks.

Why is Schooling so cheered by his competitors?
Because he took delight in watching them swim.

Why is Schooling welcomed home by so many?
Because he flew back to be with family and friends.

Why is Schooling so Singaporean?
Because he was hungry for “chai tao kway”.

Why are we filled with renewed confidence?
Because Schooling had his doubts and turned them to moments of victory.

Why did we cry when we saw the Singapore flag flown high?
Because his dad wept tears of joy and said it is all about love.

Why did we write so much about Schooling?
Because he had just started a new chapter in the history of Singapore.

A chapter with words such as love, believe, blessed, thankfulness.

Singapore, keep writing…..

Credit: Walter Lee

can or could

Account manager: how to ask for help?

Project manager: could you please…

Copywriter: can you just…

Account manager: really, that’s a bit harsh

Business Director: could you please…

Copywriter: you can see everybody’s personality with one simple question?


Google Doc add-ons / EasyBib + Therasus

I’ve been using Google Drive and its tools (Doc, Sheet, Slides etc) for every single thing, personal and work-wise. Often, I feel happy enough with its functions and don’t really bother checking out their add-ons as I don’t really want to be overwhelmed with all the coolness and get rid of it the next day 😀

But today I checked the add-ons out, because I’m procrastinating… 😛


This is going to ease up every writers’ nightmares: referencing. easybib.png

After a year of writing what seems like countless papers, I have learned by heart how to use APA reference properly. However, what I have still struggled with is looking for information about the book’s publishers and what edition to use.

EasyBib makes it so easy for me, all I need to do it dropping the book’s /  paper’s title to the search box, select the referencing style (eg: APA) and ta-da! the result appears and what’s left is just adding the bibliography to the doc. Too easy really.

Too easy!!!

(Tool is great, but don’t get lazy. Maybe it’s good to learn how to reference manually anyway! 🙂 )




This is another easy and super useful tool that I’ve just found. What I like about Thesaurus is it not only helps me find a replacement for the word I’d like to change but also gives me new words to learn. Way to go with my writing duties! 🙂

the love of secrecy

"Dorian Gray? Is that his name?" asked Lord Henry, walking across the studio towards Basil Hallward.

"Yes, that is his name. I didn’t intend to tell it to you."

"But why not?"

"Oh, I can’t explain. When I like people immensely I never tell their names to anyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I daresay, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life. I suppose you think me awfully foolish about it?"

– The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

[typo spotted] Polaris CMS

Hey Polaris!