Tag Archives: writing

Relieve Stress: Writing is a Cathartic Hobby

Hello Everyone! This one’s a lighthearted post. I invite you to read this deviant article from the usually serious ones I write in this site.

Writing is a cathartic hobby that I cannot live without. Here are my musings which I believe you will enjoy reading.

Just had a long hiatus from writing in this site as part of my hobby as well as serious article writing for my students because of a very hectic schedule both in school and out-of-school. The semester is ending and I have to prepare exams for my students as well as perform administrative work that never ends.

Also, I have to fulfill my commitment to three research projects: one on coral reef restoration, another on economic valuation of a mining site, and third on impact assessment of sustainable development projects otherwise called SDPs.

Escape to a Virtual World

I could not do away with writing. Writing is both a hobby and a catharsis—an escape from the world of work and cares of life. I like to live my life partly in the virtual world-a world where you can freely express yourself within bounds. I enjoy both the process and the outcome; much more when people respond to my article and share it around the world.

Writing gets on my nerves and keep my hands, and of course my head, busy typing and thinking, respectively. I easily type what I think and that’s something I’d like to thank my mother who was once a Grade IV teacher.

When I was in the elementary, she usually asks me to type long exams for her students so my typing skills, I believe, is better than average. My latest typing speed in a typing tutor is something like 90 words per minute and I can go faster than that if I’m in the mood. But you cannot type as fast as you really think because thinking requires pausing, pondering things to post just like what I do now.

One-Man Army of Sorts

I had been so stressed out before because of so many things to attend to and so many commitments to fulfill. And I’m once a workaholic who wants to get things done as soon as possible. I have so many interests and skills that appeared to have made my life miserable. But of course it’s a blessing to be endowed with Swiss knife-like, all-purpose capabilities. I can be a one-man army of sorts.

karate

I’m one of those called multi-talented and multi-interested (my own term) individuals. I can run a 10-K in an hour, SCUBA dive, draw, paint, drive, sew, write, shoot, strum the guitar, punch and kick like Bruce Lee (or maybe Chuck Norris?), assemble and troubleshoot computers, troubleshoot motorcycles and four-wheel vehicles, analyze data with sophisticated statistical softwares, but… nah… don’t ask me to cook or sing.

Among those interests stand out my desire to write online about anything that pops up in my mind. As a result, I authored more than six hundred online articles in various websites on various topics under the sun since I got interested in online writing in 2008.

Despite my busy schedule and whenever I have the opportunity like waiting for my turn to be called in the bank, I always find time to jot a few notes that culminate to a 400 or more-word article. I consider this not part of my work, but essentially a hobby that keeps me on the track of life.

Somehow my preoccupations brought with it too much stress which may be one of the reasons that I got seriously sick a three years back. It’s a nosebleeding episode that up to this time haunts me. But I’m thankful it didn’t recur since March of 2013.

Learning from Experience and Wisdom of Solomon

As time passes, so do we learn from our experience. I learned to adapt. My daily reflections while reading my favorite book in the bible, Ecclesiastes (written by Solomon who, Christians believe, was the wisest man who ever lived) gave me important insights useful in dealing with the endless queue of work and so many interests.

This particular verse struck me:

Ecclesiastes 1:18 “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow, the more knowledge, the more grief.”

This verse translated itself into my consciousness as “the more I learn about so many things, the more my mind and actions are preoccupied.” I, therefore, need to focus into something really worthwhile and do things in moderation. I can only do so much with what I have—my two hands and my usually sleepy head at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

In reality, however, this does not always happen as I desire it would. Recently, I took a liking on Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling as a tool that I can use in mapping the areas where I conduct research. And for the first time, I did produce a good-looking map in one of my research articles two weeks ago.

Well, to be honest, I feel great doing a lot of things. And blogging is cathartic hobby. Writing online helps me survive the stresses of work and domestic concerns.

By the way, did I say I can be a good photographer too?

albino carabao
Atypical carabao, an albino, that I noticed while walking along a dusty path last week in the remote community of Binuan in Taytay, Palawan (©2015 P. A. Regoniel).

Writing a Research Article: How to Paraphrase

Whenever you write a research paper, you need to paraphrase passages or articles from different sources in order to make the article more credible and scholarly. But, what is paraphrasing? Why is it important? And how can you make a good one?

Paraphrasing is a way of retelling another person’s idea in your own words. This means that you must keep the original meaning being conveyed by the writer while rewriting it using your own style and grammatical structure.

It is also important that you tell the readers where your information originated. If you are unable to do so, you will be guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism means using someone’s ideas without acknowledging him/her properly – whether it is intentional or unintentional. Plagiarism is like committing a crime. Thus, you must be careful in paraphrasing the work of others anticipating the legal implications of your actions.

How to Paraphrase

Now, how can you write a good paraphrase? As a neophyte, you should start first with sentences and apply the following steps:

1. Get a sentence from a credible source.

Your source may be a book or online document that comes from a reliable website. Then, read and re-read the sentence until you get the main idea. Find the key words. If you are not familiar with the words, use a dictionary or a thesaurus.

2. Find the synonyms of words that are not familiar to you.

Make sure that the synonym is appropriately used in the sentence and to a given context. A dictionary may give you synonyms but not all of them can be used interchangeably.

For example, the words commence and begin. These words are synonymous but during graduation exercises, you cannot alter the word commencement by using the word beginning. In the same manner, the terms value and importance are synonyms. But in Mathematics, it is not appropriate to say, find the importance of X.

Another way of using the synonym is to change the forms of the content words. Content words are the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. If the word used by the writer is a noun, you may change it into an adjective and the sentence construction will eventually change.

Why don’t you try the exercises below? You may check your answers using Merriam-Webster‘s online dictionary and thesaurus.

a. Change beautiful (adjective) into noun, verb, and adverb.
b. Change determination (noun) into verb, adjective and adverb.
c. Change decide (verb) into noun, adjective and adverb.
d. Change determinedly (adverb) into noun, verb, and adjective.

3. Have your own grammatical structure.

Simply changing the vocabulary is not considered paraphrasing. You should have your own writing style. Use your own words.

Some ways to have your own grammatical structures are:

a) change the active verbs into passive,
b) change the word order,
c) change the phrases into single word or adjective,
d) reduce a clause,
e) expand a clause,
f) combine clauses, and
g) make two sentences out of one.

Exercises to Practice Paraphrasing

Observe the difference between the original statements and the newly constructed sentences after applying the different ways to change the grammatical structure in the following examples:

1. Change active to passive construction
semantics

Original: The researcher can measure the giraffe’s neck in two different habitats.
Ans.: The giraffe’s neck can be measured by the researcher in two different habitats.

2. Change the word order

Original: The researcher can measure the giraffe’s neck in two different habitats.

Ans.: In two different habitats, the researcher can measure the giraffe’s neck.

Original: Recently, lobsters served in restaurants are smaller.
Ans.: Recently, smaller lobsters are served in the restaurants.

Original: Recently, lobsters served in restaurants are smaller.
Ans.: Smaller lobsters are served in the restaurants recently.

Take note that in sentences 2 and 3, you have to make changes on the following:

a. change the pattern of the words by placing the adjective before the noun (smaller lobster), and
b. change the word order by placing the adverb at the end.

3. Change the phrase into single word or adjective

Original: A researcher with so much passion in his work will likely become more successful than others who are not.
Ans.: A passionate researcher will likely become more successful than others who are not.

4. Reduce clause

Original: Knowledge is something that we need not only learn in school but by self-study and passionate interest in discovering more than what is made available to you.
Ans.: Knowledge is something not only learned in school but by self-study and passionate interest in discovering more than what is made available to you.

5. Expand clause

Original: One of these excellent writing tools that can help you focus on your writing is FocusWriter, a distraction-free word processor.
Ans.: One of these excellent writing tools is FocusWriter which has a distraction-free word processor that can certainly help you focus in what you write.

6. Combine clauses

Original: If the researcher is confident that he has sampled randomly and that the sample approaches a normal distribution, then a t-test is appropriate to test for difference.
Ans.: If the researcher is confident that he used random sampling to come up with a normal distribution, then a t-test is appropriate to test for difference.

7. Make two sentences out of one

Original: Younger people tend to recall things better than aging researchers who spent most of their time studying and narrowing their frame of mind as a result of specialization. If you are a professor, choose a student who performs well in class.
Ans.If you are a professor, choose a student who performs well in class because he is young and have a good memory to recall things.

The steps given are only appropriate for sentence paraphrasing but are very important in paraphrasing the passages which will be discussed in the next article.

References:

  1. Jameson, J. (2004). Researching and reporting.  Saudi Arabia: University English Program King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
  2. Purdue OWL. Paraphrase: write it in your own words. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/619/

Note:

Original statements in examples 1, 2, and 4-7  are used with permission from Patrick Regoniel.

© 2013 October 14 M. G. Alvior