A prayer for when you plan your writing life.


Your plans are not our plans and our plans are often not fully align with yours.

Help us to be OK with where we are in the journey of drawing closer to you, engaging our life with yours, and finding our rest in you.

Where we haven’t gotten it right in the past, you were with us. Where we’ll get it wrong in the future, you will be with us.

Thank you for being with us in this moment. You love us through every step forward and all the ones that seem to take us backwards.

Help us not run ahead of you. Guide us as we follow where you’re taking us.


Planning from the Inside Out

Choosing Your Best Yes

Like many of you, I’ve been sorting through ideas and planning for new things in 2020. When it comes to writing, my plans have a lot of carry over from years past. I’m also taking time to consider where I need to say no, so I give my best yeses.

I always have a lot on my plate. Maybe it’s because idea generation is an unending brain activity. Maybe because I’ve always been a pretty driven person. Maybe it’s because I have underlying anxiety and fears I’m not dealing with.

All could be true simultaneously.

Choosing my best yes means I need time with God. I need to listen to his heart beat for me and his next best steps. It means taking time to attend to the spiritual and emotional as well as the practical.

This is one of the reasons I love the upcoming retreat (Unleash the Voice Within) and the tie in with Unleash: Heart & Soul Care Sheets. We’ll dig into underlying issues while applying practical principles. I believe it makes a difference in how we serve and how God uses us.

Underlying Limitations to Planning and Goals

Planning requires more than choosing a thing to do and then figuring out how to accomplish that thing. We sabotage our own victories when we’re unaware of our motivations, limitations, distorted belief systems, and more.

I love what Rachelle Gardner of Books and Such Literary Agency said in a recent blog post.

“So I’ve decided to focus on my internal motivations instead of the goals themselves. I’m asking myself: How do I want to feel? What do I want to be? Once I identify those motivations, then I’ll try to make daily choices that steer me towards them, and try to avoid things that lead me away from them.”

She’s touching on the value of learning what lies underneath our choices and plans.

What we think and feel often reveals underlying motivations, beliefs, experiences, and more.

It impacts our ability to do the things we want to do and the changes we hope to see.

Ways to Dig Deeper

I’m not suggesting we toss out plans and goals. Goodness, I have plenty of my own and will continue to work on them.

My prayer for us as Rise Up Writers is that we’ll not ignore the areas of our lives where God wants to grow us through this writing journey.

Here are just a few ideas to help you dig deeper:

  • Set aside time for quiet. If needed, find a place to go where you can use ear buds or soothing, non-distracting music to foster quiet.
  • Reduce or block digital/screen distractions for a set period of time. This will give your brain a break from external input other than God.
  • Free write / journal. Just let out thoughts and feelings and ideas. Let it be a jumbled mess if need be. Write out an idea, then your thoughts about that idea.
  • Write out a prayer. Say a prayer out loud. Pray using different senses than you’re used to.
  • Ask God to speak. Ask him to help you hear what HE’s saying. Not just the answers you/re looking for.
  • Use Unleash: Heart & Soul Care Sheets to bring plans, ideas, or jumbled thoughts before God, consider underlying beliefs and feelings, and hear from God.
  • Join us for the upcoming retreat (LIVE January 24-26th), or do it on your own any weekend. Unleash the Voice Within will include opportunities to dig deeper with and without Unleash Sheets. Note: you can still purchase the 2019 retreat, Unleash the Writer Within as well)
  • Use PowerSheets by Lara Casey and Cultivate What Matters. While it’s sold as a planning tool, it also includes a lot of prep work which brings underlying concerns to the surface. I chose not to do it this year, but the prep work is powerful for increasing awareness.

PowerSheets by Lara Casey

Unleash: Heart & Soul Care Sheets by Jolene Underwood

Unleash the Voice Within Online Retreat

Unleash the Writer Within – 2019 Online Retreat


Spread the Word