Writing your next chapter is not always easy

This week, I am putting the finishing touches on the magazine that I edit for a professional association.

I've been doing this role since 2014 and have absolutely loved it, but the association has decided to move away from the digital publication and take a different direction.

So here I am, doing the very last edition. And it's hard.

The opening of a new chapter is an opportunity to create something new, to find a new direction. Photo: Shutterstock

The opening of a new chapter is an opportunity to create something new, to find a new direction. Photo: Shutterstock

It turns out, I'm not very good at letting things go, despite my five-year-old constantly dancing around the house in an Elsa costume encouraging me to do exactly that.

Closing chapters is not my speciality.

As a career counsellor, I often feel like I should have all the answers, like I don't have the right to be conflicted or unsure of myself.

However, I find that distance provides clarity and as such it is often easier to help others gain perspective than it is to find it myself.

So, being a Millennial (just), I turned to the ever-trusty Google. I searched, "How do you close a chapter?"

The results suggested that I introduce new characters, or a surprise, and to end the chapter with dialogue or with action to keep the reader engaged.

Now obviously, Google misunderstood my search - as I wasn't talking about writing a book - but then I got thinking.

We really are just living our own stories, so perhaps the Google advice wasn't so misguided after all.

Talking about the change is important to manage closure.

Not just about how I feel about this chapter coming to a close, but also to remember what I loved about doing the magazine.

The people that I met, the opportunities that I gave people to be published, the association staff I worked with and the friends that I made, made this chapter so enjoyable.

The skills I learned in graphic design, editing and article collation, how to see a bigger picture and recognise the importance in publishing articles that didn't necessarily align with my own views to ensure everyone had a voice and dialogue was sparked, show the value that this experience has given me in my own professional development.

When one chapter closes, it's up to us to open another one. This requires us to take action.

We need to ask ourselves, "what's next?" Who is going to be involved? How can we utilise what we learned in the previous chapter to build our next one?

The opening of a new chapter is an opportunity to create something new, to find a new direction, to consolidate old skills and generate new ones.

This takes conscious thought and action. And it's often easier said than done.

When you lose a part of what you do (or all of what you do), you feel like you've lost part of your identity. Sometimes, even your professional credibility.

That's a tough pill to swallow and it can be a hurdle to get over when trying to start writing your next chapter.

How the previous chapter closed can affect how we feel about the next one and career counselling can help you get through this transition period. Fortunately, I know one or two good ones!

Once you are in a mental place to start thinking about "what's next", excitement can start to bubble.

I love changing things up in my business and finding new ways to engage with others, so this is a great opportunity for me to do something that I've always wanted to do - expand the workshops and training element of my work.

With the extra time I now have, I can now do this!

Being in a good mental place is critical to being able to action this step because without the right attitude, change is next to impossible.

Many of us consider the mental work to be airy-fairy mumbo-jumbo, but it's vital to successfully building this next chapter.

If we are the hero of our own story, it stands to reason that opening and closing chapters is a part of our journey and dialogue and action are key to our successful navigation.

So as it turns out, perhaps Google was on to something. If we are the hero of our own story, it stands to reason that opening and closing chapters is a part of our journey and dialogue and action are key to our successful navigation.

It's hard to say goodbye, but without goodbyes, we have no hellos.

This story Writing your next chapter is not always easy first appeared on The Canberra Times.