This post is written to link with an online discussion at katemotaung.com on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today I’m posting on Chapter 10: Plan: I am intentional about my next steps.
I have always been a planner. Since I was very young I have liked to be organised and I would often plan things down to the smallest detail. As well as Plan A, there has often been a back-up plan, just in case.
There is a good side to this approach- it means I am generally reliable and things that are important usually get done- but it also leads to frustration because life hardly ever goes according to plan.
Over the last couple of years, I have lightened up a lot in terms of planning. I have realised that it largely came from a desire for control, which was not particularly healthy, and it was too easy to rely on my own planning and organisation instead of trusting in God.
God has allowed various situations over the last two years that have forced me to work on this and to give up my attempts to control- where carefully made plans have fallen through, where despite all my efforts to bring order to a situation nothing has worked until God stepped in at the last possible moment, where I have had to admit there is nothing I can do to fix a situation but had to acknowledge that I am dependent on God. Where my plans have failed, God has been faithful, and I am gradually learning to trust him rather than my ability to plan.
Solomon’s advice in Proverbs is wise:
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
I have not completely given up on planning but my first step would now be prayer- seeking God for his plans- and I am more willing to expect, and even embrace, the unexpected.
In terms of writing, I have found it helpful to plan. As I said in my reflections on Chapter 2: Arrange, my schedule is not regular so it is impossible to have a fixed routine from week to week. In writing the posts going through this book it has been necessary to plan ahead when I can write them, often a few days in advance of linking them up, and that has been really helpful. Having a deadline has motivated me to do it when otherwise it may not have seemed so urgent.
My next writing and planning challenge is the Write 31 Days Challenge in October. I had begun planning and writing posts for this already, but it was feeling a bit overwhelming. After reading this chapter in the book, I have planned more carefully how to tackle it and broken it down into sections, setting deadlines for the different posts. October is going to be a busy month for me anyway, so I hope that this will make it more manageable and a lot less stressful. Even if the plan doesn’t quite work out as I intended, I think it will be better than no plan at all.
As for longer term writing plans, I think that will be something to reflect on in November when there is a bit more time and space, but I realise now that I need to be seeking God’s plan rather than creating my own.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)