When You’re Not Sure What To Do Next: Write it Out

October 17, 2016

ID-10030391Even though I’m a writer, I’m not one for keeping journals.  It’s not my thing. But, what I have realized is that writing things down makes them real. Yes, I know that probably sounds weird. How can writing something down make it real? Well, let me break it down for you.


Let’s say you have an idea about getting a new job. Or starting a business. Or buying a house. You have all these thoughts jumbled in your head. You think about what you want to do night and day. You tell everyone you know. You gather opinions and try to make decisions based on what everyone else suggests to you – or based on your knowledge of whatever it is you want to do.


After a while you’re overwhelmed because too of too much information. What you desire is in conflict with what you believe is your reality. That gets mixed up with opinions of everyone you’ve shared your desires with.


When it’s all over, you’re going in circles. Or just confused.


I’ve been there. Not a good place to be when you want to take action. Especially an action you’ve never taken before.


Years ago when I was planning to find a job closer to home (so I could get free from a 4-hour round-trip commute) I wrote down everything I wanted in the new situation. From the length of the commute, to the pay, to the position of my cubicle (on the 2nd floor next to a window). Oh, and I also wrote down that I wanted to be in a building with a waterfall. Why? Just because.


Months later after I got the new job, I found what I’d written down (and forgotten about). Everything I’d wanted, I received. Even the waterfall. Magic? I’m not sure. But something happened.


Each time I wanted something – and was confused how to define it – I wrote it down. When I was house hunting and wanted to define what I wanted (after seeing several homes over about six months, it was easy to get confused) I drew up a basic floor plan. Then I wrote down how many rooms I wanted and what kind of house I desired.


Once it was out of my head, there was no more confusion. No matter what the realtor suggested (or how many houses I visited) I’d defined what I wanted. And yes, I ultimately found the perfect house that fit what I’d written down.


I tend to write things down when I feel I need to, which is not everyday. It’s more of a problem-solving tool for me, than something I use for daily reflection.  Everyone has an inner guidance system and everyone – deep down – knows what they really desire. The way to get with that is to tune out the noise of the world and commune with your own thoughts.


It’s a way to get clear. To let go of the crap. To relieve stress. To heal what’s wounded. Pen to paper can do that (or virtual paper).


It doesn’t matter if you use a fancy journal, or type it out on your computer. Writing is a powerful and healthy way to clear out the stuff that gets in the way.


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Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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