Publishing, The Crimson Five series

Finding Clarity When You Don’t Know What’s Next

To be completely transparent, this post was 100 percent inspired by Jenna Kutcher and the Goal Digger Podcast. I discovered Jenna on Instagram, and think her posts and podcasts are incredibly inspiring in a chase your dreams sort of way. And you know I’m all about that! In one recent podcast episode (I Have No Idea What’s Next for Me: 606), she dove into a topic that I found to be particularly relevant. I want to talk with you about it here because I have a feeling that a bunch of you may be in the same season that I’m in. 

A season of transition.

I encourage you to listen for yourself if you’re looking for a quick dose of helpful motivation. But before you do. I’ll share a short overview and what I took away from it.  

Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s next. What do I work on next? What is my next goal? What’s next for me? 

For goal-oriented people, that’s an awful season to be in. Days are easy when you have a goal. The steps are clear, and you know what to work on next. But when you are in-between goals, that’s most definitely not the case. It’s so frustrating! 

This idea resonated with me because back in October, I found myself wondering, what’s next.  I wondered if I should continue to query—to subject myself to the rigors of publishing when so much of it is out of my control. I mean, sometimes it feels like all of us writers are gluttons for punishment with all the waiting and rejection it throws our way. I wondered if I should embark on something else. Ideas flooded my mind and I found myself slipping and sliding in the what’s next. As someone who loves to be in control and have a plan, I didn’t like that unbalanced feeling at all. 

Then I listed to Jenna’s podcast. It was like she was speaking directly to me.

It wasn’t just a motivational chat, though I always love those. It was relatable straight talk with a tangible suggestion…a suggestion that someone gave her when she found herself in a similar frustrating situation. It was an exercise in journaling. At first, I was put off at the idea. I’m not one to journal. I never have been. I buy pretty journals & notebooks and fill most of them up with scribbles of story ideas. But writing about my day, my inner most thoughts? No way. That’s never been for me. I mean, what do you even write in a journal? The blank pages are so intimidating! A blank computer screen is hard enough to deal with! 

But this exercise is not any of that. Not exactly. Here’s the gist:

If you’re looking to discover what’s next for you, it’s important to know what you’re super passionate about right now. What idea or thought swirls in your head most of the day? What do you love doing or dream about doing? Well, if you’re in a season of transition, you may not know. That’s where the journal comes in. For 30 days, you answer three questions. (Remember, I’m paraphrasing here so be sure to listen for yourself if you want the exact wording.) The questions are:

What did you love doing today or what were you excited to do today? In other words, what positive thing did you think about doing?

What did you dread doing today? What did you do that you really didn’t want to?

What did you learn about yourself today? 

Answer these three questions every day for thirty days. Bullet point answers are fine. Then, at the end of the thirty days, re-read what you wrote. l bet you’ll notice a trend. Some days may say the exact same thing. Some days may be completely different. But overall, the things you write will probably reveal what you really what to be doing next or at the very least, a type of thing you’re passionate about. How cool is that?

I began doing this exercise a few weeks ago and it’s already shown me several things about my next steps…which, thankfully, still include writing! And the best part is, I’ve had a new reason to break open one of my pretty journals. With so many waiting on my shelf, that’s a big win. 

So, if you find yourself in a cloudy season, where you just can’t find clarity on your next steps, give it a try. Hopefully it will help you too. 

Until next week, good luck with your your own what’s next journey. I hope you discover something that speaks to you, something that gets your imagination swirling!