I teach Psychology at a local college. One of the topics we explore is the skill of “Critical Thinking”. At first, students think this means “being critical” or “being negative”. That’s not it. We have enough “negative thinking” in our world. It’s more about thinking deeply… being open to new ideas.. to question the source and intent of information. To stop and think.
Critical thinking includes avoiding over-emotional reactions and judgments, being aware of our possible biases, considering other interpretations of the things we experience, and avoiding over-generalizing thoughts like “all” or “never” or “none”. The concepts can be incorporated into many things in life, besides evaluating psychological studies. They are valid in politics, religious discussions, and in relationships.
In this frenetic, constantly changing world of writing and publishing, I’m even finding these “Critical Thinking” points to be a great help. Here are a few…
1) Be willing to wonder.. to ask questions. Years ago, somebody dared to ask “why don’t we take our stories and provide them in a form that can be read online? People scoffed. But soon, the e-reader came into play. Genres evolve. We can think creatively, open to new ideas.
2) Define the terms we use. Clarify, because many things vary for many people. What is a “successful” writer? Some have dream of becoming a best seller and can be satisfied with nothing less. Some have the drive to “tell a story”, and don’t care much how wide and far they sell. Some of us go through phases, changing our needs and intent. Why is it important to clarify this? There’s a LOT of advice floating around. Some might help, some might now, depending on how we define “success”. Or “sexy”. Or “busy”.
3) Examine the source of information. Who said that? Where did that information , statistic, belief about the market, advice, etc. come from? Is it still true? What’s hot and what’s not changes constantly. I keep hearing mantras circulating (and being believed) that I know are pretty much untrue. Or out of date. Don’t be afraid to check out those discouraging tidbits or “rules”. False beliefs can hold us back.
4) Avoid emotional reasoning. A rejection hurts, but if we give ourselves time to accept and reflect, we don’t need to over react, quit the business, or stalk the editor. If we acknowledge our emotions, and work through them, we don’t have to make harmful decisions or take actions that we might regret later.
5) And never say never. Or at least, taking my own advice, TRY not to say never. “I’ll never be a success.” “This book will never sell.” “I’ll never write a novella.” Being open to new possibilities, you just might surprise yourself.
The critical thinking points often help me to stay sane in a challenging world. Do any of them help your focus your thinking in any area of your life? I’d love to hear!
Christine Bush is the award winning author of many books and novellas of sweet romance and light mystery. She also writes Middle Grade Fiction. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working with clients as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or teaching Psychology at a local college. She lives with her family and two crazy cats in northeastern Pennsylvania, and loves to hear from readers and aspiring writers.
One of her Christmas novellas, “Christmas Daisy” can be found at:
And don’t forget to preorder our exciting NEW “Sweet Christmas Kisses 3” anthology, a giant bundle of 17 sweet Christmas novellas by your favorite sweet authors! Preorder now ($.99) and be ready for our September 27 release day! Celebrate the holiday with heartwarming love!