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Rediscovering the joy of writing and more

17th April. That day was the last of eight sessions of the online Creative Non-Fiction I course run by Lasalle College Of the Arts.

Truth be told, it dawned on me in January how massive the task of writing an entire dissertation by the end of the year was. At that point, I was overwhelmed with anxiety to write. 

To put my worries at bay, I decided to register for the CNF course earlier this year. I used my remaining SkillsFuture credits to offset most of the course fee. Even though it wasn't focused on academic writing, I thought that creative writing itself and getting feedback from the prof would enable me to improve my writing skills anyway.

It turned out that I was right. There was a 750 word writing assignment assigned to us each week. Working on the essays was fun and relaxing. I got the opportunity to personalise one of my academic publications in an essay, by writing about my lived experienced as a deaf person growing up in the Singapore multilingual context.

I enjoyed the workshopping aspect of the course the most. In the second session, it felt a tad daunting when I realised the prof was going to share each student's assignments with the whole class and critique it on the spot on zoom. However, I actually grew to love that part the most. I marvelled at the prof's ability to critique each of our essays within a few minutes, wich is a skill I hope to develop in time to come.

The feedback sessions helped me to identify gaps in my own writing as well as that of others. I hope to apply the writing tips I've picked up from this workshop when writing my dissertation. I've learned through this course and over the past few years, that the skill of clear and concise writing actually takes time to develop and is hard work.

Getting regular feedback from the prof, really served as a confidence booster. I rediscovered the joy of creative writing in the process, which proved to be cathartic and healing.

Here are some comments I received...

On April 4th I received this feedback in another e-mail....

My dissertation still feels like a monumental undertaking. However, creative writing as a side hobby has made academic writing feel less daunting and seemed to reduce the hugeness of my PhD. I feel motivated to persist and improve in my academic writing. I also wish to continue to find opportunities to write creatively in my spare time.

Having different hobbies really helped me to put the PhD in perspective and has curbed my anxiety. Attending church services and catch ups with different friends in April on four different occasions as well as dinners with my family, have also helped me to switch off from work.

Lunch catch up at The Ritual with one of my PhD friends on Friday April 26

A bible verse came to mind when I was at the MRT station on the way home from a friend's place during the Chinese New Year period in February.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from?

~ Psalm 121: 1 (World English Bible)

While waiting for the train, I suddenly felt a wave of anxiety wash over me. This verse gave me a sense of assurance and a peace that passes all understanding.

There is much to be thankful for 😊

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