5 Barriers to Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is essential to using your overall experience, background, common sense and other attributes to become more aware of how your efforts for success are being spent. When you have barriers to the critical thinking process, it can seriously harm your ability to move forward.

When you’re aware of these barriers, you can better overcome them and focus your thinking on what’s going to move you forward rather than getting stuck behind a barrier – unable to move forward.

Here are five barriers that can impede the critical thinking process:

  1. Thinking in Black or White – Some people ignore a situation’s complexities by thinking that there’s only one way to solve a problem. The problem is placed in a category, given a label and that’s the only way that matters. Thinking in black and white comes from our need to have certainty in our lives, but it’s false logic to assume that everything is totally one way.
  2. Thinking with the Ego – Egocentrical thinking is thinking with a lack of understanding others wants and needs. It limits your thinking to only your point of view and doesn’t have room for others’ ideas. This thinking process is deeply embedded in our psyches, and it sometimes takes deliberate effort to overcome it.
  3. Social Thinking – The drone mentality of social thinking only lets us see things in the way of the popular point of view – or the way that our spouse, companions, parents and friends think. Thinking outside the box is almost impossible when you have a barrier of social thinking and it can greatly impede the critical thinking process.
  4. Authoritative Thinking – Just because someone in authority says it’s true doesn’t mean it is. You’ve likely been swayed at one time or another by political leaders who say one thing is true only to find out later that it was a lie or a misleading way of thinking. The authority could be a person, peer group, institution or anything that makes you think that they’re right because they’re in an authoritative position.
  5. Judgmental Thinking – When you judge something or someone based on moral evaluation it’s usually done in haste and based on our past in some way – such as the way we were raised, educated or other values and mores. Judgmental thinking is usually non-rational thinking and can block understanding and insight about a person or an issue.

It’s important that we recognize our own barriers to the critical thinking process and replace those barriers with rational and reasoned thinking and then make a concentrated effort to avoid them.

Grey Dawn of Dharaven- Katz Island Update

I can’t believe I am 15 or so days away from the release of my book, Grey Dawn of Dharaven: Katz Island. I am excited about this release and can’t wait to hold my first book in my hands. It will be sold on Amazon. I do not have links yet or a cover, waiting on my publisher for those things.

Book Description:

A fantasy adventure book about an archeology expedition that heads off into uncharted areas on Katz Island on the planet Dharaven. Earth Dragon Clan born archaeologist Grey Dawn Fields leads to a team of explorers and archaeologists into the wilds of Katz Island looking for a human underground settlement. She’s seen it on an ancient map found in an antiquarian store. That’s when the problems start, and they’re not only coming from the island. When they arrive on Katz Island the expedition is forced to wonder why they are even there when they find little in the first valley the team ground searches. The second valley is more promising as it shows signs of old habitation in its cliff caverns. It’s still not what Grey is looking for.

When an Earth Dragon attacks the second camp looking for food, then dies leaving a baby Earth dragon behind; Grey realizes she has trouble on her hands. Between training a baby Earth Dragon and her archaeology expedition duties Grey is required to stretch her problem solving capabilities and is forced to rely on her friends, colleagues and even her Earth Dragon Clan for help.

Is there an ancient human underground settlement on Katz Island or is Grey on a crazy quest to find something that does not exist? Grey’s archaeology career rests on her ability to solve every problem that stands in her way of success.  Readers of fantasy adventure books will be captivated by this book.

October 14th or 21st are tentative dates I have been given for it to be published! I will be sure to let you all know!

How to End a Blog Post and Leave Readers Hungry for More

Students are taught there are parts to an essay. There is the introduction, the three main paragraphs and then the conclusion. Blog posts also have parts to increase the readability rates and to help readers find the post. Certain things in a blog post can help search engines find it to make a post popular or even go viral. One important part of a blog post is the conclusion. Why write a conclusion to a blog post? This is the last chance to get the reader to stay to see more of what is available on a blog or for them to learn about a product.  It’s the last hurrah on the topic. Writers want to leave their readers hungry for more; more information, more articles from them, and more ways to help them with everyday problems. Readers are often looking for more, too.

When writing a conclusion keep the goal of the post in mind.

Consider the goal of the post. Why was it written?  Write few sentences or highlight the main points in the post. This is a good starting point toward writing a great conclusion.

There are several ways to conclude a blog post.

Fifteen Ways to Leave Readers Hungry for More

  1. List your key takeaways. What are the key points in the post that the reader is to remember? Highlighting the key points throughout the post, then writing them at the end in the conclusion reminds the reader of the important points.
  2. A Call to Action. Tell the reader what they can do with the information given in the post.  The call to action for this post might be: “In a blog post consider writing a great conclusion using one or more of these ideas.”
  3. Ask the reader to share the post. Something a simple as “If you learned something from this post, would you please share it with someone else?”
  4. Give immediate actions that can solve the problem. What is one or more actions the reader can take today to solve the problem brought up in this post? What are steps to be taken now?
  5. Write a tagline for the reader to remember. Taglines tend to stay in a reader’s mind if it is kept simple and memorable.  McDonalds “I’m Loving It” is a key tagline to their commercial.  If the business has a tagline for the product being sold, consider using it in the end of the article.  If you make up one, keep it short and sweet. “End your blog post with a bang not a whimper.”
  6. Tell the opposing viewpoint. If there is an opposing viewpoint bring it up. Make the reader aware that it was considered, but that it is not a major point. “Why not just stop writing and call an end to the post?” might be an opposing viewpoint to this article.
  7. Place links to more content or more information. Put a link to more information on the topic or to another blog post on your blog that addresses a similar issue. Help your reader to find more information on the subject. 
  8. Ask a question. Ask the reader if they agree or disagree with the post. Did they have another way to do it? Ask a “what would happen” question. “What would our world be like if everyone planted a tree next week?”  “What would happen if we chose to pay it forward every week?” “How do you end a blog post?”
  9. A cliffhanger ending that leads the reader to another blog post or to a sneak peek at what is coming next to your product or blog. “Go see https://katherineesoto-author.com for more interesting articles on writing.
  1. Offer the product or next offer in the funnel. Always use a blog post to sell or upsell a product. “To learn how to write better get one of the writing bundles off Ultimate Bundles.”
  1. Write a summary. Try not to rewrite the post.  A summary of the main points reminds the reader of what they have read. “Say what you are writing about, explain it, then remind the reader about what was said.”
  2. Start a discussion. Ask a question that will start a discussion in the comments below about the post topic. Be careful in your wording. Readers can have volatile opinions on subjects. Only do this if a discussion of the topic will be worthwhile for the readers.
  3. End on an inspirational note with a quote or idea. End with a quote that has something to do with the topic. “Great blog posts take time and effort to write.” (K. Soto 2020)
  1. Include more than one of these ideas in the conclusion. Some of these ideas go well together and can be used in the conclusion of a blog post. Combining them will make for a stronger conclusion.
  2. Sometimes there is no conclusion at all. This is for when everything has been said and there is nothing to add to make the blog post better.

After careful consideration of goals and choosing how the blog post should end, write the conclusion. Write down several ideas or thoughts.  Keep in mind this is the last chance to reach the reader or sell a product.

Notes to write a conclusion for this article.

Key Takeaways: Writing a conclusion to the end of a blog article is putting the last stamp on it.  It is often the stamp of belief in stated ideas.

Call to Action: In your next post of a blog article consider using one or more of the ideas from Fifteen Ways to Leave Readers Hungry for More.

 Cliffhanger or a link: “Go see https://katherineesoto-author.com for more interesting articles on writing.

Offer product or upsell: “To learn how to write better, consider getting one of the writing bundles on Ultimate Bundles.”

Quote: “Great blog posts take time and effort to write.” (K. Soto 2020).

Tagline: “End your blog post with a bang not a whimper.”

Conclusion:

Writing a conclusion to a blog post is putting the last stamp on it.  It is the stamp of belief in the written ideas. It should make the reader hungry for more. When writing the next blog post consider using one or more of the ideas from the list of Fifteen Ways to Leave Readers Hungry for More.  Also go to https://katherineesoto-author.com for more interesting articles on writing. To learn how to write better, consider getting one of the writing bundles from Ultimate Bundles. “Great blog posts take time and effort to write” (K. Soto 2020). Remember to end a blog post with a bang not a whimper.

Featured Author of the Month- September 2021 Peter D’Hollander

Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FFZRKY9

Author Interview

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?
    The EarthSea trilogy of Ursula LeGuin. I generally dislike books with magic, but this one always made me dream of a world where magic didn’t always solve everything – but cause its fair share of issues as well.
    Maybe this is one of the reasons why I added a magic system in my book. It doesn’t solve everything, but it’s another tool in the box to use.
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite?
    I write too fast. Once a teacher told me that I could write the most beautiful text if only I wrote slower. Thoughts things through. Chose the correct words. I once wrote a non-fiction book (about a software package I had never used before – Adobe Premiere Pro) in 10 days flat. I was lucky enough to have the software itself (of course) and the internet could always help me out – but that was… Murdering. I was dead tired after those 10 days.
    The sad thing is that I write  (and don’t think things true) as fast when I create fiction books. I learned that the hard way to slow that down. And edit. So, nowadays, I edit and edit and edit and… I edit once more. Maybe that’s where my new Kryptonite sits. I can’t let a story go before I find it perfect and flawless. Except – and you all know the drill – no story is exactly as what you saw in your mind. I need to let go of things and take a distance. In the last editing round of my book, for example, I still wanted to make large changes. I had to stop myself from doing that.
  3. Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
    I couldn’t name one author. I guess it’s the Rhetoric Askew Publishing family. I’ve met some awesome authors, there. If there is anything I learned from them, then it’s to write with passion and to keep on writing. We can do it. You can do it.
    No matter which dream your pursue, the one thing that is important is not to let others keep you from that. If they say chances are small you ever get published (more so in a language that isn’t your own) then they are probably correct – statistics wise. It just doesn’t say a single thing about what you can achieve. Remember that when you’re out there, fighting for your dream.
    Just remember that everyone can fall. It’s quite a different story for those that rise and fall again. That takes courage. And perseverance.
  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
    Keep writing fiction. I have never stopped writing (I have 45 non-fiction books published in Belgium and the Netherlands), but I stopped writing fiction for almost twenty years because I was too busy writing non-fiction. And while that’s a far easier entrance into the publishing world, it’s different, too. As one of my students once asked me when I told my class I wrote a book on the subject of what we were studying at the time: “And when does your real book get published?”
  2. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
    My debut fiction novel is my book 46. So, it really didn’t change my writing process. I knew I had something publishable, I just had to find a way to get it published and Rhetoric Askew Publishing gave me that chance. They saw a possibility and shaped a very rough diamond into what it is today. I learned to spot some of the flaws I didn’t see earlier (I hope, though I also know that most writers – if not all – keep repeating their first mistakes over and over again). Actually, if anything, you write and rewrite and do that again. At least ten times over. Maybe that’s the biggest difference between fiction and non-fiction: the rewrite. You don’t always rewrite stuff when you write non-fiction. If anything (and I’m in a position to compare), non-fiction is a much easier world to break into. Really.
  3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it?
    Buying more books. I have a collection of comic books (Belgium is well known for its comic books: think Tintin, the Smurfs, etc…). I have around 3.500 of them and part of the money I made as a non-fiction author, went into that. But with my fiction book, I want to do things differently, though I secretly have some dreams, of course. Like buying a Chevrolet Corvette (my dream car). Not that it ever happens, but a man got to dream, I guess.
  4. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
    A Dragon, for sure. I’m born in 1964 – the year of the dragon. It’s the only mythical beast in the Chinese zodiac and I can’t help but often feel out of place. I’m an introvert, probably high sensitive, too, who looks at the world in a slightly different way. I’m not normal in that sense (have been told that once in a while as well).
  5. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
    I’m presently working on part two of Children of Little Might (Children of Little Fight), have another book that’s sitting on my shelf (but needs a rewrite) and have at least three or four more fantasy novels (barely started or never finished) and the same with at least as many Science-fiction books.
  6. Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
    The first book I ever read (we talk about it later) pulled me right into a world I was eager to reside in. I guess that was what mattered to me: creating a believable world with characters (however flawed) you could love living adventures you would otherwise run away from. I never thought I would write them myself that many years later, but back then I looked at awe at the way the author sculpted and painted her (historic) world with nothing else but words. I wasn’t yet thinking of doing it myself (that came on the age of 13, but that’s a story on its own), but it drew me right in. My teacher read the first chapter out loud in class and at the end of that chapter he said: if you want to know the rest, you have to read it on your own. And I did. I kept on reading, too, after that book.
  7. How do you select the names of your characters?
    Names generally come to me (first names, that is, I don’t always mind so much about last names) when I make up the character. In Children of Little Might I picked names with a specific meaning (because Monty knows what they mean). So, I went hunting online in several baby name sites that not only give you the names, but explain where they come from, too. I start with what I’m looking for generally and then try to land there as close to as possible.
  8. What is your favorite childhood book?
    The first book I ever read. It’s a Dutch book, but it’s translated: Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman. It’s about a boy who travels through time and arrives at the Children’s crusade (a historic thing, apparently – it did happen and was meant to sell a whole bunch of kids off into slavery).

Authors’s Bio

Born on the third rock of the Sol solar system, called Earth, Peter D’Hollander is a Tech Writer by day, a blogger (in a foreign language) by night and a Young Adult Fantasy writer all moments in between. For as long as he remembers, he creates worlds he one day hopes to live in. Not because they are so perfect – they are probably as flawed as ours and equally marred with little imperfections and twists, but because they accept the craziness that inhabits the author. Not that they have another choice. Nevertheless, he inhabits his worlds with characters you hopefully fall in love with and sends them on the adventures he enjoys to read himself.

He started to write at the age of 13 because he couldn’t do sports for three months. And what else do you do when you sit in a study all alone while your colleagues have fun outside? You sit and you write. Stories set in the Star Wars and EarthSea universes. Still, some claim he wrote his first story when he was told to write his first essay at the age of six. He wrote: The chicken leaks. He never won any rewards for that and people didn’t even understand it, until he explained them and he told a story of a chicken that got shot. Hence, she leaked.

He quickly learned non-fiction was the fastest route to publication, so he wrote books on IT subjects, such as games, spam, Office and several other tools available at the time. In between 1998 and 2007 he wrote 45 IT-related books in a foreign language, of which one even got translated into Italian. But his real love was fiction – science fiction and fantasy.

When he first met people on the spectrum – long before he even knew how it was called – he wrote his first story on the subject. But it was not until he met a boy and a girl – a brother and sister – that he delved deeper into what autism was and how it affected people. While the boy accepted he was on the spectrum and felt it finally explained why he did the things he did, the girl didn’t want to accept it. One day she flat out said it would never make her happy; more so since people called her handicapped. And she wasn’t.

During his youth the author struggled with his own image of weirdness. Finally accepting that, he wanted to create a story for those children in which autism played a large part. He didn’t want to focus on the issues – everyone else does that already – but he wanted a positive story; in which they learned that autism has its limitations, but also offers possibilities.

Today the author lives and writes in a little town at the other side of the pond together with his wife, his three kids and a cat with a troublesome character. Born a few years before the Landing on the Moon, his biggest flaw is that you find more secrets hidden in his stories than you truly want to know about (including the name of the city he lives in).

Like dragons, he has a vivid imagination – so vivid that he more than once heard he had too much of it. He never buckled and that resulted in Children of Little Might, a book about a boy with autism who discovers that with a few friends who believe in you, you can do anything. He learns he doesn’t have to change to make friends because friendship has nothing to do with change, but everything to do with accepting the other for who he is.

Book cover: Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FFZRKY9

Five years ago, Montague ‘Monty Hill’ Glupie, a sixteen-year-old boy with autism and a penchant for languages, found a book that promised to grant his every wish once he translates it. He has two: return his father and get rid of his autism.

Today he planned to translate the last sentence, but instead Monty ended up in his high-school principal’s office after he broke a bully’s arm. With punishment just around the corner and no other way out, Monty escapes from his high-principal’s he sees no other exit, he escapes from his office and heads to his family’s ranch house to translate the last sentence.

Finally ready for his wishes, Monty hesitates. What if it isn’t real? What if his high-school principal plays yet another game? He settles for an impossible wish; for the princess of the book he translated. He calls her his Paper Girl and he wants her to fall in love with him.If she appears, wishes get granted. If she likes him, magic exists and if she falls in love with him, miracles happen.

Yet, no one comes. Disappointed and lost, Monty goes home and returns to school the next day to face another horrible day. It goes from bad to worse until a new girl arrives; Aislinn. Is this his Paper Girl? And what does she see in a boy who has but one friend? It’s the start of an adventure that takes him to a kingdom in another world where he lands himself in hot water when he fights his own high-school principal. He can win, and maybe find first love, but will he accept that his autism might be his ‘superpower’?

Blurb

What happens when a boy with autism finds a book that promises his every wish once he translates it? It lands him in hot water as he tries to defend his Paper Girl’s kingdom. Will Monty believe his autism might well turn out to be his ‘superpower’?

Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FFZRKY9

Katherine E. Soto’s Book Review

Children of the Little Might by Peter D’Hollander

Monty is an unusual character; He is a teen age boy who has been told he has autism.  He wants to be normal. To top off all his own problems, Monty wants his dad to not be dead.  He decides to wish for things to be different.  He wants to be normal, he wants his friend who is in a wheelchair to be able to walk, he wants his Dad to be alive, but instead, when given the chance to make a wish, he wishes up his Paper Girl.

This book is written from Monty’s point of view.  Monty has a different way of seeing the world because he is part of the broad spectrum diagnosed Autism world.  The author does an excellent job of staying within Monty’s viewpoint throughout the book.  It provides a fascinating look at another person’s viewpoint of the world and their wish to escape what is happening to them. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good YA adventure to read.

A New Book to Read

Glen Dahlgren has a new book coming out at the end of August 2021: The Game of War.

Book Blurb

Never meet your heroes—especially if they’re dead.

Years before the Child of Chaos makes their fateful choice, young Dantess faces his own reckoning.

Dantess wants to follow in the footsteps of his dead grandfather—a legendary priest of War—but his father forbids it. In fact, his father’s hatred of War lands him in a cell within the god’s temple.

The only way to free him is from the inside, so Dantess must choose: let his father die or defy his upbringing, become a priest, and win his father’s freedom in the temple’s deadly Game of War.

Torn between the legacies of his father and grandfather, Dantess finds that both paths hide secrets that threaten to destroy everything he cares about, including his sanity.

Dantess must decide who he wants to be—but if he’s wrong, everyone will pay the price.

The Game of War is a standalone, full-size prequel novel to the Chronicles of Chaos.

“Game of War, like its predecessor, Child of Chaos, is riveting and compelling. Introducing new, fascinating characters, adventures and relationships, Glen Dahlgren weaves another magical book that is a must-read for any fan of fantasy literature.” —Barbara Blackburn, Knights of the Dinner Table

My Review

The Game of War by Glen Dahlgren

Review by Katherine E. Soto

Once again this author has written an adventure that keeps the reader’s interest in turning those pages until the end of the book wanting to see what happens next.  Dantess, the main character, is swept into the Temple of War trying to do what is right. Somehow it all ends up wrong as he faces obstacles within his path of trying to save what he holds to be most valuable.

Based in the world from Child of Chaos this book takes you into the prehistory of Dantess the Great War God warrior and his beginnings in the War Temple. The reader learns more about the world in which these characters live and what the Temple of War is truly like on the inside. 

Of course, a few friends are at Dantess’ side as he ventures forth. Warren and Jyn, two kids who go with Dantess to the Temple of war, Jyn’s Mother and even Dantess’ father manage to get involved in the chaotic adventures played out. As always, the enemies Dantess makes are not very nice as they create several more problems for him to solve and make attempts on his life for various nefarious reasons.

This book is a standalone with its own characters based in the world from Child of Chaos. It is a prequel book to Dahlgren’s previous book. There are many twists and turns the author can take to bring more of this world and his writings to his readers. I sincerely hope he does.

Want to Reduce Stress? Get Some Sleep

If you don’t get the right amount of sleep, your mind cannot be at its best. You won’t function properly and may make some serious mistakes. Unfortunately, stress can cause people to stay awake at night. However, getting the right amount of sleep can help eventually reduce your stress levels.

To get better sleep, start exercising on a regular basis. While exercise may give you energy throughout the day, when you go to bed at night, it will help you to sleep better. You will have a quality sleep as well. Some people find that exercising in the evening causes them to be wired, and they can’t get to sleep. If you fall into this camp of people, consider doing your exercising in the morning. This way, you’ll use that energy burst throughout the day and will give you time to become tired.

Avoid Alcohol

Try to avoid using alcohol in excess. Although this seems counterintuitive as alcohol makes you sleepy, it causes you to fall into a deep sleep. You then wake up in the middle of the night and have a difficult time getting back to sleep. Without the alcohol, your sleep will be more even and allow you to sleep throughout the night. If you feel you must have alcohol, don’t have more than one drink.

See a Doctor

See a doctor if you have sleeping problems that persist. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a decline in your health. Sleep recharges the body and allows it to function properly, including building up antibodies to fight off diseases. When you are deprived of sleep, a bunch of problems can arise because of it.

Hopefully, if you do resort to seeing a doctor, he will find solutions that are not drug-dependent. This may help your sleep problems in the short term but doesn’t do much to fix the reason why you are not getting sleep. Press your doctor for alternative solutions if drugs are being prescribed.

Meditation

Consider learning meditation as that can relax the mind. It’s much easier to get good sleep when the mind is relaxed than when it is thinking about all the problems you are facing. Meditation won’t solve those problems. But, getting to sleep can help you to come up with solutions faster.

Eating a Proper Times

Eating at the proper times during the day and eating the right kinds of foods, can help you to sleep better at night, as well. If you have a heavy meal right before you are going to bed, you could suffer from indigestion, which will not lead to a good sleep at all.

Are You Living Life on Your Own Terms?

6 Ways to Make Sure You Live On Your Terms

Whose life is this anyway?

We spend way too much time worrying about other people. We want to fit in. We want what the other person has. There’s a lot of reasons to toe the line, but is it good for us?

Too much time spent worrying about what other people are thinking or doing takes away from your life. You start losing authenticity. Your goals and dreams start looking like everyone else’s. You lose who you are.

It’s time to break out of this cycle. When you live life on your terms, you find yourself accomplishing more and being happier in your day. You become more you than you ever were before.

How to do this?

Create a Better Focus

If you have frequently been in the habit of looking to see what other people are doing, it’s time to shift your attention to you. Forget keeping up with the Joneses. What are your goals for the day? What are you trying to accomplish? What is the work which needs to be done by your hands? Paying attention to you means you don’t have time to worry about anyone else.

Weed Out Your Friends List

When you’re busy being worried about what other people think of you, it’s easy to put up with behavior, which isn’t excellent for you to be around. Quite frankly, some people are toxic. These are people who put you down, steal your energy, make you feel bad about yourself, and sometimes even hurt you. When you’re true to yourself, you don’t hang around people who hurt you.

programming codes

Hone Your Skills

It’s not uncommon to have something which you are particularly good at. But how often do you indulge in this? Are you using your skills or talents? When you are true to yourself, this means making frequent use of your gifts and even sharing them with the world.

 Forget the Money

Do you make decisions based upon what will give you the most money? It’s an easy trap to fall into. Consider this: sometimes we need to do the things which are the most fulfilling over which are the most rewarding. Your bank account might not thank you, but your most genuine self will.

Embrace Modesty

So, you did a thing. Rather than wasting time trying to impress other people with your accomplishments, step back. People will notice the results of your work and appreciate it without your pointing it out. Pro tip? You’ll appreciate the compliment more when you’re not fishing for it.

Shine!

Most of all, live outside the lines. Be who you are and all your magnificent, fantastic glory. When you embrace who you are, you’re finally living life on your terms. It’s a great place to be!

person standing on mountain peak with black land of the dreamer-printed cape on his back

A Guest Post This week: How Journaling Can Be Used to Boost Your Creative Writing

by Desiree Villena 
desiree.j.villena@gmail.com

Ways to “manifest your dream life” can be found all over the internet, but there’s definitely some truth to the idea that clearly defining your goals will help you get out and achieve them. For writers, journaling can also be a great way to keep track of ideas or deadlines, which can prove crucial in the journey to self-publishing or getting a book deal!

Perhaps even more crucially, we writers all face the dreaded prospect of writer’s block every now and then. Luckily, there are a whole host of ways journaling can be used to boost creativity and help you finish that manuscript you may or may not have been avoiding for a little too long. Without further ado, here are five reasons to take up journaling as a creative writer!

1. To stay organized

First and foremost, you can use your journal to make to-do lists. This way you won’t have to store them in your head, which can help preserve brainpower for creative writing projects. It might sound silly, but you’ll be amazed how much more productive you can be when you’re not worrying about logistical issues and can focus on “deeper” work!

Journaling, and bullet journaling specifically, can be used to keep track of your deadlines, ideas, and upcoming tasks. Once this becomes second nature, you’ll find yourself worrying much less about what’s coming up next or what you might have missed — leaving more energy to stay focused on the present and actually writing your book.

2. To put yourself in the best headspace

Journaling can be viewed as a form of meditation and has been proven to provide great mental health benefits, ranging from a better mood to an improved memory. It’s just one of many ways to take care of yourself when you’re under any kind of stress or pressure, which is often the case when writing a book. Doing what you can to take care of your mind and body will put you in a good mental space for writing, helping you unlock your creativity.

Testing other habits around your journaling can also help you find the best conditions for you to write in. You might explore whether you prefer writing in the morning or the evening, or if you like cozying up on your own couch vs. using a coffee shop as a designated workspace. Trying these first with your journaling practice will make it smooth sailing when you want to get into the right headspace for any of your other creative writing projects.

3. To make writing a consistent practice

Journaling daily will automatically make writing a consistent practice, which in turn will help you write faster and to a higher standard. In the short term, setting the intention of writing every day should provide a motivation boost and get those creative juices flowing. In the longer term, a consistent writing practice will help you refine your voice and create a style that is unique to you. Once you’ve established this, you’ll find it much easier to get into your writing zone.

It’ll also help you get used to writing with complete freedom and without censoring yourself, allowing you to explore any thoughts or feelings that may arise. This is vital to escaping writer’s block, as you’ll feel more comfortable writing about any ideas you have rather than filtering out the ones that don’t feel “good enough” at first glance.

4. To define your goals and make decisions

If you’ve reached a stage where you’re looking to publish your book, journaling can allow you to work through all of the decisions you’ll be making. Defining your big-picture goals in your journal, as mentioned, can help you actualize them.

Or, to back up a little bit, you can use your journal to gather your thoughts on your story itself. This may be especially useful if you’re neck-deep in your plot but aren’t sure what should happen next, or what the ending should be! You can use your journal to explore various paths and figure out what would work best for the story you’re trying to tell. And if you get a little lost while writing, you’ll have this handy roadmap to help get yourself back on track.

5. To have a little fun!

Though journaling is great for staying organized and building good habits, don’t forget to also use it as a space for inspiration and experimentation! For example, if you’re writing a children’s book, you might read some of the best children’s books that are already out there and track your opinions. What did you like? What didn’t work so well? What would you like to implement in your own work?

Remember, journaling doesn’t have to take the stereotypical style of long-form daily diary entries, like those of Anne Frank or Samuel Pepys. You could use writing prompts or write gratitude lists, or even draw doodles to illustrate your day. You could even try out new styles of writing with no external pressure — give poetry a go, or try and write some of your dialogue like a screenplay! If it helps, you can think of your journal as a book of rough drafts. Write in the ways you’ve been scared to try out before; no one else will see it if you don’t want to share it!

Journaling to Help Combat Loneliness

Has loneliness due to the Covid crisis interfered with your life? Do you feel you don’t talk to people anymore or they don’t talk to you? Try journaling to help combat your loneliness. It really doesn’t matter what your issue is; if you want to overcome it, you can find a way to use journaling to help. You can set up a particular type of journal like a gratitude journal to help yourself become more thankful for what you do have, and you can also keep a bullet journal and set goals to overcome the loneliness you’re experiencing if more social connections will do it. The possibilities are truly endless.

Let’s look in more detail at how journaling can help combat loneliness.

Allows You to Explore Your Thoughts and Feelings

Journaling can help to simply focus on writing expressively your thoughts and feelings surrounding the loneliness that you are feeling. If you can write about each part of your feelings, and when you first noticed them, you may identify the core cause of the feelings. When you do that, you can develop a plan to solve the problem.

Gives You a Way to Express Your Thoughts and Feelings

Writing is a time-honored way of expressing thoughts and feelings safely. You never have to let anyone read it. You can write it down in the form of letters to people, or to yourself, or even to someone you don’t know that you keep for yourself when you’re done but completed to get it out in the light to study by you.

Provides a Way to Understand Your Thoughts and Feelings

Sometimes you may not even know what you are feeling. It can be hard to understand and express what we feel even to ourselves. But when you focus on writing it down, it can help you understand everything in a new way from a new direction that you may not have considered.

Helps Foster Social Connections

It might seem like a strange notion to consider, but writing can even help you foster social connections. The main reason is that as you read through what you’ve written, you’re going to discover ways to overcome your situation to find the healthy social connections you need.

Helps You See the Big Picture More Easily

Looking back at the things you’ve written over time about any topic can provide insight into the situation that you never saw coming. That’s because having the journal to look back on provides a way to see the bigger picture. You may feel super-lonely today, but it’s still less than yesterday, which lets you know it’s going to get even better from here.

Provides a Means to Understand and Organize Your Thoughts

Writing things down, especially when you choose a particular method like the bullet journal, will help you get your thoughts down in an organized and useful way. When your thoughts are a jumble, you might not see the real point but when they’re organized, it makes all the difference. For example, in writing it all down, you may realize that your loneliness is really due to being with the wrong partner who does not value you.

You’ll Sharpen Your Observation Skills

Once you start writing regularly and it’s become a habit, something amazing will happen. Your observation skills will be sharper, and you’ll have an easier time coming up with descriptive and expressive words to use in your journal. This is going to lead to even more breakthroughs due to having more clarity.

Focuses Your Gratitude Skills

Something funny happens when writing in a journal, even if it’s not specifically a gratitude journal per se. What happens is that as you’re writing (even if you’re upset), you’ll become calmer – especially when you read it back. You’ll become grateful for what you do have that is positive in your life, even if it’s simply the ability to breathe in and out today.

If you want to combat loneliness, consider writing about and exploring why you feel lonely. You also should remember to read the definition of “loneliness” to ensure that this is what you are really experiencing. No one ever needs to be lonely, even when they are alone, if they know how to work through their thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help with that.

Try some of these writing prompts from this site: https://wanderersway.com/blogs/wanderers-way/10-powerful-journaling-prompts-for-loneliness

If you missed any part of this 7 article series on this blog it starts with number one: https://katherineesoto-author.com/index.php/2021/05/11/how-to-get-started-writing-a-journal-part-1-in-a-series/