The Next Right Thing

 Many of you are writers. Coming up on conference season, you may find yourself with a whole lot of dreams and hopes and a whole lot of disappointment and frustration as you try to achieve them.

Maybe you absolutely love writing a story, but life has put weights on you one at a time that are becoming difficult to carry. Would a publisher ever be interested in such a risky subplot? Would ABA want something like this? Would CBA? Are my readers going to be mad because I said the word "crap"? Can I get published if every single year I fail to final in the Genesis contest no matter how badly I want to win that whole thing? What if I don't have a litany of superstar authors backing me up, willing to endorse me? What if I clam up during my appointments with editors, and I can't even remember my name let alone my story?

And then life, sometimes, very simply just exhausts our dreams. We go into survival mode for one reason or another-- busyness, emotional exhaustion, physical exhaustion-- we shove our dreams into a corner, and little by little, we let them starve.

Don't let your dreams starve. 

Sometimes, in the middle of the summer, you may find yourself sitting on the coach with a laptop in your lap and an empty tea mug beside you. The page count on your WIP is not what you'd planned. Butterflies are fluttering around just outside your window, begging you to ditch your story and go play outside. Maybe you have kids and are running around completely frazzled, trying to keep up with their summer activities.

Maybe you find yourself asking, "What's next?"

It's a natural question. When we invest our hearts in something like writing, it's only natural that we want to keep them safe. We want the best for our story. We want to see our calling come to pass through publication.

Sometimes it seems God likes to ignore that question. But more likely, He's trying to get us to change our focus. To ask different questions. Better ones. To grow. To learn. To trust.
If you find yourself stuck in the hum-drum routine of daily writing and wondering if your heart is still in it, and if God still cares at all, let me encourage you with something my pastor always says:

If you can't hear God telling you His plan, take the next right step.

See, the next right step is a whole lot easier than having to figure out a master plan of getting published, getting an endorsement from Terri Blackstock, and hitting the NY Times Bestseller list. The next right step is a lot more visible, and a lot more manageable. And that's where Satan tricks us. So often we fall into the trap of believing we have to have it all figured out.

We don't. We just need the next step. So maybe that next step is beginning to design your one sheet, practicing your pitch, or simply writing a few words down on page 57 of your WIP.

But don't devalue the next right step just because it isn't the final one.

Have you ever found yourself frazzled because you don't know what's up the road? How do you refocus and find productivity in the day-to-day, often mundane moments?


  1. Yes, I definitely have felt that way before! I'm a planner, and so I like to know where I'm headed. But I've often heard it said that sometimes God only gives us enough light to direct our next step, not to see the final destination. And that's where trust comes in. I truly don't believe we can ruin God's plan for us, especially if we are praying and seeking His guidance. It's that thought that comforts me when I feel lost.

    1. Great thoughts, Lindsay! It's so easy to freak ourselves out that we may make one wrong move and mess things up, but God is so much bigger than our faults. Thanks for stopping by!