The Weekly Language Digest | 1

7 Tips for Good Writing
By Joseinne Ignacio, Senior QC Specialist, QC Team

I am a firm believer that writers are made, not born. Your willpower in honing your craft
will determine how good a writer you will become. With the right mindset, anyone can be
good in wielding the pen. As such, I would like to share a few tips that will help you on
the road to becoming a good writer.
I learned these from my journalism
professors, who were mostly journalists and
editors, and from my years of experience in
writing:

• Read, read, read. This is the most
important tip that any writer should take. For
starters, reading will improve your grammar,
sentence construction, and the way you
organize ideas. You will gain more
knowledge, expand your vocabulary,
stimulate your imagination, and enhance
your reasoning. The benefits of reading to a
writer or anyone are endless. Although
reading Bloomberg or The Financial Times
will probably be more beneficial to a
business writer, some of us would rather
read reviews about our dream cars or a
John Green book during our free time.

• Acquire the tools of the trade. You
have to know your strengths and
weaknesses as a writer and focus more on
turning your weaknesses into strengths. If
you know you are not so good in articulating

Photo source: Mitchcommgroup
in English, you can exert more effort in
learning the language. Take grammar tests
and make Strunk and White’s “The
Elements of Style” your best friend. You can
be creative in improving a skill that you think
you are struggling with.

• Relax. Good writing requires clear
thinking. Relaxing clears up your mind. If
you feel that you are overwhelmed with the
amount of data you have to analyze when
writing a report, allow yourself to have a 5-
minute break and do something that is not
mentally exhausting like drinking water or
meditating. Avoid feeling anxious to beat a
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deadline, so you can focus more on your
task. Unless you enjoy procrastinating,
panicking will not help you in producing a
better output.

 Practice makes perfect. While Write
for Ten is already infested with spammers,
the website’s premise is still applicable.
That is why I challenge you, reader, to write
about anything for 10 minutes daily without
worrying about errors and without stopping
to edit what you said. The idea is for you to
overcome the fear of writing or writer’s block
and to gradually make it easier to express
yourself. Besides, 10 minutes will not eat
much of your time.

 Write what you know. Hayao Miyazaki,
the creator of Studio Ghibli and classic
animated movies for children like “My
Neighbor Totoro”, implied that for one to be
great in the field of animé, you have to
observe people. Anyone who has seen his
films knows that characterization is one of
his strong suits, which seems to be a
reflection of his ample knowledge of
people’s behavior. This can be applied to a
research analyst writing a report. You have
to study and analyze the subject matter so
that when you write, the result will be a
substantial output. How much you know will
reflect on your written work.

 Keep it short and simple (KISS).
When you are writing for a business, you
have to convey your message in as few
words as possible. Omit unnecessary words
in your copy, and go direct to the point. One
tip is to go over what you have written a
second time and delete words that you think
will not sacrifice the meaning of your
message.

 Revise. When an editor or a reader
gives you constructive criticism about your
work, don’t feel bad about it. Instead, take it
as an opportunity to improve your work. In
the future, applying what you have learned
from feedback will most likely result in fewer
errors and revisions. Writing is an arduous
and mentally strenuous task, but when you
produce a well-written work that your
readers are happy with, it will give you a
priceless reward: fulfillment.
Source: http://qualitycontrolteam.blog.com/2014/03/07/7-tips-for-good-writing/

Vocabulary
willpower – ability to control oneself; strong determination that allows one to do something
difficult.

anxious – afraid or nervous especially about what may happen.

procrastinate – to delay doing something until a later time because one does not want to do it,
because one is lazy, etc.

premise – a statement or idea that is accepted as being true and that is used as a basis of an
argument.
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Useful Phrases

“beat a deadline”
Example: When trying to beat a deadline, writers usually do not have the time to even read e-mails or
to attend unscheduled meetings.
“direct to the point”
Example: Our clients prefer to read reports that are brief, concise and direct to the point.
“writer’s block”
Example: One way to overcome writer’s block is to begin in the middle of the report or to do the most
interesting part first, and then just go back to the introduction later.

Writing Tips
PARAPHRASING: Writing Using Your Own Words

A paraphrase is our own version of the ideas and information uttered by another person or taken from a
source.

Why do we need to paraphrase?

 In general, every piece of information we borrow from a source requires attribution and
careful processing of the original text.

 Paraphrasing saves us from committing plagiarism, which is a serious offense in the academe
and a sign of lack of professionalism in business.


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Steps in Paraphrasing Effectively:

1. Read and understand the information from the source.

> If you can’t explain without looking at the original text, then it means you still do not fully
understand it to be able to write a legitimate paraphrase.

Write your own version.

a. Change the structure.
i. Find another focus.

> Focus should depend on our own purpose in using the information we borrow.

ii. Start at another place in the original sentence (i.e. do not begin your own
version with how the original text started)
Example:
You have to know your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and focus more on turning
your weaknesses into strengths.


As writers, we have to be aware of our strong and weak points and exert more effort in
improving our craft.
b. Change the vocabulary.

> Use different sets of words that convey the same meaning. (A thesaurus would be
very helpful)
Example:

Avoid feeling anxious to beat a deadline, so you can focus more on your task.



Stop worrying about the deadline to allow yourself to concentrate on your work.
Changing both the structure and the vocabulary is advisable.
You do not have to change all the words. You may use what we call ‘Shared Language’ without
having to quote. ‘Shared Language’ refers to vocabularies commonly used in certain disciplines or
industries.
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More examples:
Original:
Good writing requires clear thinking. Relaxing clears up your mind. If you feel that you are
overwhelmed with the amount of data you have to analyze when writing a report, allow yourself
to have a 5-minute break and do something that is not mentally exhausting like drinking water or
meditating. Avoid feeling anxious to beat a deadline so you can focus more on your task. Unless
you enjoy procrastinating, panicking will not help you in producing a better output. Just like a
painter, you have to step back from your work to digest the information presented so that you
will see the big picture.

Plagiarized version:
Good writing needs clear thinking. Relaxing can clear up your mind. If you know that you are
overwhelmed with the amount of data you need to analyze when preparing a report, give yourself 5
minutes to have a break and do an activity that is not mentally tiring like singing or meditating. Don’t
feel anxious to beat a deadline, so you can concentrate more on writing your report. Unless you love
procrastinating, panicking will not be helpful. Just like a painter, you need to step back from your work
to digest the information presented to see the big picture.
On this version, the writer simply changed some vocabularies (in blue font),
without effort to change the structure or use entirely different sets of vocabulary. Those in red font are
the words lifted directly from the source. The writer makes it appear that these are all his/her
ideas/words.
Legitimate Paraphrase:
Sometimes, a huge amount of data could be overwhelming to the writers. In this situation, writers
should not panic and should avoid worrying about deadlines because doing so would make them lose
their concentration. Instead of panicking, writers should relax to free their minds from any distraction.
As what the author stressed, having a clear mind is a key to producing well-written reports.

Don’t forget to include citation/attribution.
> Even if you are successful in writing a legitimate paraphrase, attribution (or citation in
academic writing using MLA, APA or other referencing styles) is still necessary.

> To attribute, use phrases like ‘according to,’ or use reporting verbs like ‘said’, ‘emphasize’,
‘mentioned’, etc.

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Challenge

Paraphrase the following sentences/paragraphs taken from the article by changing
words or changing the structures. Include appropriate attribution.

1. Writing is an arduous and mentally strenuous task, but when you produce a well-written work that
your readers are happy with, it will give you a priceless reward: fulfillment.
2. You have to study and analyze the subject matter so that when you write, the result will be a
substantial output.
3. Read, read, read. This is the most important tip that any writer should take. For starters, reading
will improve your grammar, sentence construction, and the way you organize ideas. You will gain
more knowledge, expand your vocabulary, stimulate your imagination, and enhance your reasoning.














[Type here.]
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[Type here.]


Read the netizens’ posts or comments on the following Facebook pages and give a
report of their messages through paraphrasing.

1. “Abi Gail” on SMRT
2. “Goh Agnes” commenting on the post from
The Straits Times about enhancing “kampung spirit”
among HDB residents in Singapore.

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Discussion

As writers/analysts, discuss with your team how you overcome writer’s block.
Share some tips on how you are able to beat a deadline without panicking. (Check
this out for more tips.)





Note: The Weekly Language Digest may feature content or source that uses styles, guidelines or
rules not consistent with the Brandtology standards. When in doubt, refer to the Brandtology
Corporate Stylebook or other pertinent resources.

[Type here.]
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References

anxious . (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 10, 2014, from http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/anxious

Avoiding Plagiarism: Quoting and Paraphrasing. (June 4, 2014). The Writing Center at University of Wisconsin.
Retrieved June 9, 2014, from https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_paraphrase.html

Driscoll, D. & Brizee, A. (2012, May 14). Paraphrase: Write it in your own words.
Retrieved June 9, 2014, from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/563/02/

Higher Score Free Advice 2 - Paraphrasing.pdf. (2007). Retrieved June 10, 2014,
from http://www.higherscore.ca/downloads/Higher%20Score%20Free%20Advice%202%20-%20Paraphrasing.pdf

Ignacio, .J (March 2014). 7 tips for good writing. Retrieved June 10, 2014,
from http://qualitycontrolteam.blog.com/2014/03/07/7-tips-for-good-writing/
premise. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 10, 2014, from http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/premise

procrastinate. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 10, 2014, from http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/procrastinate

willpower. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 10, 2014, from http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/willpower

EDITORIAL TEAM

Michael Tiotuico
Managing Editor

Joseinne Ignacio
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Contributors

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