Category Archives: Guest Posts

Awesome Opportunities (Guest Post)

Awesome Opportunities

By Steph Beth Nickel

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by one of the teachers who attends our church. Her goal? To see if I would be willing to speak to her Gr. 7/8 class about publishing a book—since one of their current assignments is to write books for the Kindergarten students.

I was over the moon!

Because she offered me an entire period (or two), I decided to walk the students through the entire process and called it “From Book Idea to Bookstore.”

When I sent Paula the outline, she was thrilled. <happy dance>

Was I looking for opportunities to speak? Nope! (Although I do love speaking to groups about things I’m passionate about.)

Did God open doors because of who I am, where I attend church, and what I do? He did.

And He can do the same for you. Isn’t that incredible?

Before we accept an opportunity, it’s important to ask ourselves a series of questions—even when our first impulse is to jump up and down (possibly metaphorically) and say, “Yes. Yes! YES!”

Here are six questions we can ask ourselves when it comes to discerning if the time is right to say yes to an opportunity that comes our way:

  1. Do I have time to take this on and do it well? Do I REALLY have the time?
  2. Why am I considering taking on this new opportunity? Is it something that excites me? Do I feel called to say yes? Am I doing it because I’m flattered to have been asked? (If your answer to the third option is “yeah, I think that’s it,” know that it’s okay to simply say, “Thank you so much for asking, but I’m unable to take on this task.” If you believe this is the right answer for you, be willing to respectfully but confidently stand your ground.)
  3. What am I willing to set aside in order to take on this opportunity? (Sleep, regular physical activity, time with family and friends, etc. are not likely what we should set aside—at least not for any significant length of time.)
  4. Will my other responsibilities suffer?
  5. Will the excitement wear off and leave me feeling overwhelmed? (Even though I love to spin “all the plates,” recent feelings of overwhelm have me examining what I will be setting aside and what I will be continuing to do in the days ahead.)
  6. Before giving my answer, have I prayed about it and sought wise counsel from someone I trust?

There are far more questions you could ask yourself before taking on a new opportunity, and I’d love to hear some of yours.

But . . .

When that awesome opportunity comes your way that you’re fairly certain / absolutely certain you should say yes to . . .

GO FOR IT!


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Creating White Space (Guest Post)

Open day planner with red ribbon marker and fountain pen.
Image by Sophie Janotta from Pixabay

Creating White Space

by Steph Beth Nickel

How do you feel when you open a book and see a solid page of text with virtually no white space?

More importantly…

How do you feel when you open your schedule and see virtually no white space?

Do you feel overwhelmed just thinking about it?

What can you do to overcome the overwhelm and avoid burnout?

Here are eight suggestions:

  1. As a Christian, prayer is always the best place to begin.
  2. Divide your To-Do List into three categories. The three I use are Yes!, Maybe, and Would Be Nice. Be careful how many things you list in your Yes! column. I would highly recommend adding Downtime (in ink) to your Yes! column every day. Go for a walk. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Don’t let things you’ve always wanted to do end up in the Would Be Nice column week after week.
  3. Take a look at your Procrastination List. Offload any of the responsibilities you can’t realistically accomplish in the near future. Add (and complete) at least one remaining item to each week’s schedule until the list is cleared. When I cross something off my Procrastination List, it feels as rewarding as crossing ten things off my everyday list and energizes me to get back to the day-to-day.
  4. When creating your To-Do List, be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you have the luxury of creating your own schedule and you have more energy in the morning, complete the tasks that require extra energy and brain power before lunch whenever possible.
  5. Remember that no is not a bad word. We’ve all been in situations when someone asked us to do something that would only take an hour or two, but it felt like the proverbial straw that would break the camel’s back. It’s okay to decline. I know this is true, but I’m still learning to apply said truth.
  6. When asked to take on a responsibility that you would really like to accept, ask yourself what you can remove from your schedule instead of trying to shoehorn in the new task.
  7. Make use of the Auto Responder on your email and let people know that you will be incommunicado when you’re on vacation. Resist the temptation to check in. True Confession: While I love making IRL (in real life) connections, my phone has become this extravert’s connection to the outside world, and I have to be extremely disciplined when it comes to setting it aside.
  8. As you get older, it will likely become evident that you can’t accomplish everything you dream of. While this can be discouraging, it can also help us determine our highest priorities and create a To-Do List that mainly includes those things we would regret not accomplishing. For example, those dishes really can wait until morning. Playing a game with your family, meeting an old friend for coffee, or sitting down to work on that book you want to publish are likely more important.

Create white space in your schedule—and guard it diligently.

Take it from someone who, for the most part, loves to spin “all the plates”…

Sometimes it’s best to tuck the majority of those plates in the cupboard—at least for now.


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Stepping Back (Guest Post)

Pink blossoms on a tree, in front of a white house.
Photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel

Stepping Back

by Steph Beth Nickel

Good Friday … the perfect day to step back from the everyday.

Not simply a day off work, but a day to focus once again on what the Lord did for us approximately 2,000 years ago.

As Christians, this reality is the basis for all we believe. For all we do. At least it should be.

While attending a Good Friday service and fellowshipping at a church potluck may be on our agenda, more importantly, this is the perfect day to practice some less common Christian disciplines. Not that potlucks are a Christian discipline, but you know what I mean.

It’s a perfect day to explore silence.

Excuse me for a few moments while I “preach” to myself.

Between my To-Do lists, social media, audiobooks, podcasts, TV shows, etc., etc., etc., I rarely experience silence / stillness of any kind. And most of that is my own doing.

Today, I may do one or more of the following. Perhaps you’d like to do the same.

1. Set aside my To-Do lists. Those everyday tasks can wait.

2. Go for a walk on my own and listen to the sounds of creation. No earbuds allowed.

3. Take my camera along on my walk and snap pics of the beauty all around me, evidence of God’s creativity and so many other aspects of His character.

4. Ramble until I stumble upon truth in my journal. I haven’t done this in a very long time.

5. Meditate on God’s Word by leaning back, opening the One-Minute Pause app, closing my eyes, and drinking in the recorded truths.

6. Read a chapter in Emily P. Freeman’s How to Walk into a Room and listen to one or more corresponding blessings available on the Quiet Collection app.

7. Memorize one of more Bible verses that pertain to this pivotal weekend.

8. Fill our home with praise and worship music. Thank you, Prime Music.

Which of these inspire you to step back from your everyday?

Which ideas would you add to the list?


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

You Learn Something New Every Day (Guest Post)

Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay

You Learn Something New Every Day

By Steph Beth Nickel

When you stumble across information you didn’t know previously, do you find yourself saying, “You learn something new every day”?

We cannot, however, hope to stumble across the facts and insights we need simply by chance. It’s important to develop a reliable system to expand our knowledge base.

Here are nine of my favourite ways to learn new things:

  • Read both fiction and nonfiction (audiobooks, ebooks, physical books).

Many people think there is little to nothing to be learned from fiction. Years ago, the Lord held up a mirror in the form of the female protagonist in a series I was reading, and I saw myself. And let’s just say the traits I related to were not particularly admirable. This reinforced my desire to mature and become less selfish and more like our Saviour—and that is a very good thing to learn.

  • Listen to podcasts.

There are podcasts about pretty much any topic you can imagine. It’s easy to learn something new every day by listening to those that interest you.

  • Participate in social media communities.

In most cases, we get the most out of the social media communities we belong to by actively participating and getting to know our fellow group members. We can learn from the group’s host and from one another.

  • Host FB groups.

You may start a Facebook group on a topic that interests you with the objective of sharing your insights with others. And while you’re doing so, you’re likely to learn from those who join your group as well.

  • Prepare and post short videos online.

Creating even short videos has taught me so much: how to create an event in my FB group, how to be comfortable online, how to be more succinct (trust me, I can ramble even when “talking to myself”), how to set aside perfectionism (as long as we’re providing educational and/or entertaining videos, most people don’t care if we’ve put on make up and have a picture perfect background or if we stumble over the occasional word)… The more videos I post, the more I enjoy doing so.

  • Teach children and youth.

Most of us likely realize the best way to get a firm grasp on lessons we’ve learned in the past is to prepare to teach them to others. I regularly teach the 2s and 3s at church, and even revisiting extremely familiar stories is a great way to marvel at them once again. And teaching the youth this month has been a real joy.  

  • Journal my thoughts, something I call “rambling until I stumble across truth.”

No one ever has to read our journals, making them a safe place to work through the tangle of thoughts racing around in our head. Sometimes (often) I surprise myself with my own words.

  • Spend time in person and online with insightful people.

While we do learn things in unexpected ways from unexpected sources, we must be deliberate when it comes to discovering the specific information we need. While we must be careful whose advice we follow, there are numerous ways to ascertain if what worked for others will work for us. And when we find reliable sources of helpful info, we’re going to want to keep learning from these individuals.

  • Grab a coffee with a friend.

Even when we get together with a friend or family member simply to catch up, we often gain new insights and come away encouraged. Hopefully, others feel the same after they spend time with us as well.

What’s one of your favourite ways to learn something new?


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Prioritizing Your Goals (Guest Post)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Prioritizing Your Goals

by Steph Beth Nickel

Now that January is drawing to a close, you’re likely reconsidering the goals you made at the end of 2023 or the beginning of this year. I know I am.

Instead of giving up entirely on those goals we haven’t yet achieved, it may be time to prioritize them. Of course, there may be those we have to set aside, but the answer could be to 1) categorize them, 2) prioritize them, and 3) choose one small step toward each goal we want to achieve.

I have goals in the following categories. You may too. I have prioritized them, although they are all important.

  1. Spiritual
  2. Physical
  3. Emotional
  4. Relational
  5. Financial

I also have goals that don’t necessarily fall neatly into one of these categories. For example, some of my writing will allow me to earn money, but not all of it will. To an extent, my volunteer responsibilities fall into the spiritual, emotional, and relational categories—and, indirectly, into the fifth category as well.

I very much enjoy Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing podcast and journal. These resources, among others, have helped me to break down big goals into smaller, more achievable ones.

As a Christian, my ultimate spiritual goal is to become more Christlike. For the first time in a long time, I’ve committed to making my way through the entire Bible this year (I am incredibly thankful for the audio versions of the Bible). Another goal is to use a prayer journal 5-7 times per week. (Thanks to Tracy Krauss, who created the Thirty Days of Targeted Prayer journal. I use it daily.)

I have yet to begin exercising, but doing so 3-5 times per week is my #1 goal in the second category. The odd thing is that I actually enjoy exercising. I just have to get started.

As an extravert, it’s important for me to spend time with friends and family. These times of connecting build me up both emotionally and relationally. Something as simple as watching a TV show with my hubby in the evening brightens my day. (Listening to audiobooks and podcasts also makes me feel connected to others.)

My hubby will be retiring at the end of the year. Therefore, it’s important that I continue to bring in funds so we won’t notice the loss of income as dramatically. This means taking on writing and editing jobs that come my way and completing the two books I’m currently working on so I can get them into the world.

These are my current goals and the steps I’m taking toward achieving them. Please note: Some days I spend more time vegging and watching YouTube videos than I do working toward my goals. I am definitely a work in progress. I’m far better at creating a list of goals than actually achieving them.

How about you? Have you prioritized your 2024 goals? What one step are you taking to achieve your top goal?


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Replacing Resolutions (Guest Post)

Photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel

Replacing Resolutions

by Steph Beth Nickel

We’ve all heard the statistics at how short-lived New Year’s Resolutions are.

This year let’s try something different.

Let’s decide what we want to achieve by this time in 2024. Remember to be kind to yourself and set realistic goals.

Here are six of my goals:

  1. Complete Paralympian Deb Willows’s second memoir.
  2. Write and self-publish a novel.
  3. Work with my editing clients.
  4. Fulfill my responsibilities as the editor of FellowScript.
  5. Fulfill my responsibilities as one of Kathi Lipp’s interns.
  6. Get healthier.

To achieve our goals, we must break them down into small, achievable steps and set a flexible date to complete each step. Flexible because we will inevitably have to reschedule some of our goals.

Here is an example of steps I could take to accomplish the goals listed above:

Deb’s Book

Work on the book at least three times per week until it’s ready to submit to the publisher.

YA Novel

Complete the novel.
Get input from alpha readers.
Complete rewrite.
Have manuscript edited.
Buy book cover.
Have manuscript formatted.
Research how to upload the book to a single distributor or multiple distributors.
Upload the manuscript to distributor or aggregator.
Get the word out.

I have chosen not to date these tasks, but I have listed them in the order I intend to complete this project. Of course, there will likely be some overlap.

Editing Clients

Work on editing clients’ projects five times per week.

FS Responsibilities

Proofread submissions as they come in from the Columns and Acquisitions Editors.
Pass them along to the Design and Layout Editor.
Finalize the magazine.
Train a new editor.

FellowScript is a quarterly magazine. So, I cycle through these responsibilities four times per year—except the last one of course.

KL Intern Responsibilities

Keep up with ongoing responsibilities.

Get Healthier

Exercise 3-5x/week from January through December.
Drink more water from February through December.
Eat more fruit and veggies from March through December.
Limit desserts and sugary drinks from April through December.

While I may incorporate the listed goals before the stated start date, it’s best not to try to incorporate everything at once.

Setting fixed deadlines may be best for some people. I, on the other hand, function better if I have flexible deadlines for the majority of the things I have on the go. That way the fixed deadlines I have don’t seem as overwhelming. Plus, there is more margin for day-to-day tasks and those unexpected situations that are sure to pop up.

What are some of your goals for the coming year? Have you broken them down into doable steps? Do you work better with fixed or flexible deadlines?


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Less is More? (Guest Post)

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Less is More?

by Steph Beth Nickel

I’m writing this at the end of October. I will let you know in the comments how I did with my goals for November.

Prioritize your current WIP (work in progress). Make room on your schedule. Keep your appointments with yourself the way you would with anyone else.

These are all good pieces of advice.

However…

You are a unique individual, a creative.

Sheer willpower and including my two current works in progress on my schedule have not been enough to keep me writing.

While it isn’t surprising that spending four days with my coauthor and working exclusively on her second memoir got me back into the groove of working on Keep Looking Up, what happened recently goes against conventional wisdom and fuels me up even more.

I was going to sign up for NaNoWriMo again this year and commit to working on my YA speculative fiction novel, which I’ve been working on off and on for several years—yes, years. Instead, I have committed to FlashNano. The goal: write 30 short stories in 30 days.

Am I crazy? Possibly…

However…

There are times in my life when the more I take on, the more motivated I am to work on projects I’ve neglected for far too long.

I recently wrote a 1400-word short story to submit for possible publication in the InScribe anthology that will be published in 2024. Whether it’s chosen or not, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Because I wrote “Love Your Enemy,” I’m primed to work on Deb’s memoir and the YA novel as well as dive into the adventure of writing more short stories.

Of course, I’ll have to focus on my goals in order to accomplish them. I’ll have to add them to my daily Action Plan (aka my To-Do List). I’ll also have to set aside other things that I won’t have time to accomplish.

But by the end of November, I should have many more words written and polished. And as a writer, I’ve come to realize that none of the words we write are wasted.

Here are six reasons I’ve come to this conclusion:

  1. Practice may not make perfect, but it does make us better writers.
  2. Working on a new or different project can help us get unstuck with our current work(s) in progress.
  3. The more we write, the more it may fill the writing well or charge our writing battery.
  4. When we write works that seem to flow from us, it may give us the wherewithal to get back to those projects that we find tedious and uninteresting. (Most writers have to work on this type of project from time to time—or frequently.)
  5. We may end up publishing a piece we originally wrote just for fun after we revise and polish it.
  6. A piece we write may spark a longer work that gets picked up by a magazine or book publisher or one we choose to self publish.

So, I’ve found that, with writing, less is simply less. And more? Well, the more I write, the more I’m motivated to keep writing.

How about you? Do you need to focus on a single project, or does writing unrelated pieces motivate you to get back to those works that you’ve been neglecting?


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Why Enter a Writing Contest? (Guest Post)

Image by 6689062 from Pixabay

Why Enter a Writing Contest

by Steph Beth Nickel

Of course, if we enter a writing contest, we hope to win a cash prize—at least get an honourable mention.

But what if that doesn’t happen—especially if there’s a significant entrants’ fee?

Recently I entered a contest because the organization running the contest needed more entries in a few categories.

True confession…

Did I hope to at least win a prize equivalent to the entrants’ fee? Absolutely!

Was I disappointed that this didn’t happen? Briefly.

Did I gain something far more valuable? Without a doubt!

This particular contest included numerical scores and comments regarding several areas (formatting, POV, setting, etc.). I found the scores encouraging (for the most part) and the comments insightful.

Many of the negative comments verified things I already suspected and came as no surprise—although, let’s be honest, negative comments can be discouraging at first. We have to process the discouragement and then consider how to apply those insights that we feel will indeed make our writing better.

We also have to analyze the positive comments and press into them in our writing to make sure we further develop the skills we already possess.

So, the truth is that I’m glad I didn’t win a cash prize. If I had, I may not have paid as much attention to the judge’s comments—and my future work would not have benefited.

Here are 13 tips regarding writers’ contests:

  1. Make sure the organization holding the contest is legitimate.
  2. Read all the details carefully, including the fine print.
  3. Find out if there are benefits beyond a cash prize. (i.e.: judge’s comments for all entrants)
  4. Determine why you want to enter the contest and how you’ll likely feel if you don’t win a cash prize.
  5. Choose the category/categories you want to enter.
  6. Read the requirements carefully and follow all instructions to the letter.
  7. Write the best piece you can.
  8. If there’s time to put your entry away for a time and then go back to it, do so. We often see things we’d like to rework when we review our work objectively.
  9. Send off the entry (and submission fee) and get back to writing. Sometimes you won’t hear the results for quite some time.
  10. If you do receive the judge’s comments, whether you win a prize or not, read them carefully.
  11. After considering which observations and recommendations will make your writing better, make note of them and put them into practice.
  12. If there are comments you don’t agree with (which there likely will be), don’t set them aside indefinitely. Revisit them after you’ve had a chance to process your initial emotions and thoughts.
  13. And if you win—CELEBRATE!

What are your thoughts on entering a writing contest?


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

Just Keep Learning; Just Keep Learning (Guest Post)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Just Keep Learning; Just Keep Learning

by Steph Beth Nickel

Books. Workshops. Free and paid social media groups. Courses. Conferences.

Most creatives have a plethora of resources at their fingertips.

I doubt if I’ll ever complete the books and courses I already own. However, I’m likely to buy more. And those lifetime subscriptions and bundles at unbelievably low prices… Those draw me in far too often.

While I’m doing better at using the materials I have on hand and resisting the temptation to buy something if I already own something similar, there are still times I sign up for things like free online workshops that sound interesting.

And while I don’t recommend succumbing to FOMO, the fear of missing out, there are times a new purchase—or the commitment to attend a virtual event—can make us re-evaluate what and why we write.

That’s what happened to me recently.

Have you ever noticed that creatives are among the most generous people on the planet?

The workshop I attended last Saturday proved this to me yet again. It was two-and-a-half hours long and jam-packed with practical, applicable writing-related information. Plus, participants had the opportunity to do significant self-examination and answer questions in the free workbook that was included. No cookie cutter answers. And no unattainable promises.

All this and more—and no heavy-handed sales pitch. In fact, the presenter took only a few moments to inform us about her yearlong program that she made clear would not be right for everyone—not even everyone on the call. Generosity and integrity… They both mean a lot to me.

As some of you know, I began a YA speculative fiction story a number of years ago. I had a lot of fun writing the first third of the book. When I was concerned that I was wandering around in the mire as I approached the middle of the story, I decided it was time to write the last chapter to see where I was headed. (I’ve done something similar with other writing projects and it helped a great deal.)

Still, for a number of reasons—including questioning whether I should actually write the book—it has sat on my computer, neglected for far too long.

When answering one of the questions from the workshop, a question about the point of my writing, it became clear that the protagonist’s journey and growth were, indeed, relatable—potentially inspirational even. These insights had never struck me before.

The workshop presenter stressed that the point of our writing doesn’t mean the in-your-face “moral of the story.” But we are all trying to make a point with our writing. And when we recognize that point and are convinced that it’s worthwhile, this just may be the verification we need that we should persevere and push through the obstacles that stand in our way.

I’ll forever be glad I signed up for the workshop—and spent over two hours considering what makes me who I am and how that applies to my writing.

So, my fellow creatives, to quote Dory from Finding Nemo—well, almost, “Just keep learning; just keep learning.”


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.

How Writing Can Help Us Make Healthier Choices (Guest Post)

Tabletop with smart phone, open journal, pen, and plants.
Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

How Writing Can Help Us Make Healthier Choices

by Steph Beth Nickel

Please note that the following insights are for information purposes only. Getting professional help (a personal trainer, a counsellor, a financial advisor, etc.) is often an important step to making healthier choices in every area of life.

Most people give at least some thought to their physical, emotional, and mental health—to one degree or another. Those of us who are Christian likely give thought to our spiritual health as well—perhaps, prioritizing it over health in other areas. And then there’s relational health, financial health, etc.

Just how can writing help us improve our health in every area?

Before we dive in, let’s remember one very important thing: we can’t give equal attention to every area of health at the same time. That, in itself, would cause ongoing stress, which is not good for our health in any area.

Physical Health

You may want to begin by writing down your goals and setting a reasonable timeframe in which to achieve each of them. Keep track of successes, both big and small.

For example…

Goal: Develop a habit of exercising for a total of 150 minutes each week by the end of 2023.

This Week’s Goal: Exercise for 30 minutes twice this week.

Success: Took a 30-minute walk on Monday.

August’s Goal: Exercise for 30 minutes twice a week for the first week and 30 minutes three times a week for the remainder of the month.

Emotional Health

I have a journaling app on my phone. On more than one occasion, my entry simply read, “Ahhhhhhhhh!”

Journaling about your feelings, especially those often labeled “negative,” where others aren’t going to read your thoughts can be a helpful way of acknowledging and beginning to process them.

Mental Health

Of course, mental health and emotional health are closely linked. If you make it a habit of tracking how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, you may be able to discern a pattern and take steps to improve both your emotional and mental health. And remember, everyone needs a support system. Talking with a therapist, a counsellor, or another professional can go a long way to developing resilience, which we all need.

Spiritual Health

Here are six ways writing can help in this area:

  1. Journal your prayers. This can keep you from getting distracted. Plus, it’s a great idea to review your prayer journal and make note of answered prayers.
  2. Many have found that keeping a gratitude journal can help them focus on the positive—even in the darkest of days.
  3. Take notes while you listen to a sermon, message, or podcast.
  4. Summarize your Bible reading in a brief paragraph.
  5. Keeping track of your spiritual growth can be an encouragement to you. Plus, one day, you may be able to use your words to encourage others on their own journey to spiritual health.

Tools to Use

  1. A note-taking app on your phone
  2. A journaling app on your phone (I have the paid version of the Day One Journal, which is extremely versatile.)
  3. A Word doc on your computer
  4. A physical journal or notebook
  5. A dictation app on your phone

Let’s make one or two healthier choices this week and consider how writing can keep us on track.


Photo credit: Jaime Mellor Photography

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance editor and writer and an author. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at stephbethnickelediting@gmail.com.

You’re invited to visit her website: http://stephbethnickeleditor.com/.

You can join her Editing Tips Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418423519384351.