2021 Strategic & Spiritual Planning for Writers
by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS
The dawn of a new year fosters time for reflection and planning. It is a time to look back on last year, evaluate what you did, and plan for the next year. The new year is the perfect time to meet with the Lord and meditate upon his will for a writing ministry. Have you taken the time to plan for 2021?
Begin your planning session with prayer. Ask God to guide you during this session. Select a scripture verse as your theme for the new year. My 2020 verse was Proverbs 3:5–6 (NLT):
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
This theme is very special to me because I trusted God when he led me to become the new Director of (CIPA). I would never have dreamed a year ago that I would be leading over 250 independent authors and small publishers in this organization.
I feel as though my 2021 verse relates to all of us Christian authors:
“I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own” (Leviticus 20:26 NLT).
“Together, we are his house. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you are being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20–22 NLT).
Quote from Jesus Calling
“Take time to be holy. The word holy means set apart for sacred use.”
God has called Christian authors to write his prose. We are God’s hands and feet on this Earth. And our writing helps further the kingdom of God. As Christian authors, we encourage and support one another because we are all on the same team—God’s team! Read the bolded portions of my 2021 Scripture verse above and think of all of us authors being joined together for God’s sacred use.
In the writing business, we receive much rejection. Focusing on our divine purpose and God’s Word keeps us grounded and motivated to pursue the Lord’s will for our lives. After spending time with the Lord and determining my new year’s theme verse, I write it in my new calendar. I document each year’s planning session in the first few pages of my calendar, making it easily accessible.
Next, I list all of the previous year’s accomplishments in my life (work, health, spiritual, family). I was amazed at how much I accomplished when I recorded everything. Life is so busy that it is beneficial to stop, appraise, and celebrate. Celebrate what you accomplished last year.
Evaluate what worked well and what did not. Determine what you need to purge from your life—maybe a negative relationship or an author event that did not work well. For me it was my online writing group. I was in three Word Weaver Christian Writer Critique Groups, and that was too many. Also, assess if you accomplished all of your previous year’s goals; if not, you may want to add it to this year’s list.
Plan your goals for 2021. As you do, ask God to help you determine what he wants you to accomplish. What is his priority? In different seasons of our lives, perhaps we should focus more on family and less on work. Our children grow quicker than we think. For my 2021 goals, I created a list for work, home/family, health, and relationships. Prioritize your goals based upon segments of time such as monthly or quarterly. May God bless your 2021 planning.
I would like to recommend two Christian resources for annual planning. The first is a short course by Shelley Hitz’s called “” at . And the second is a 2021 planning goal kit by Courtnaye Richard at .
Susan U. Neal, RN, MBA, MHS
Susan’s mission is to improve the health of the body of Christ. She has her RN and MBA degrees, as well as a master’s in health science. She is a with the American Association of Christian Counselors. She published five books, the Selah award winner , , , a #1 Amazon best-selling yoga book, and which ranked #3. She published two sets of Christian Yoga Card Decks and two Christian Yoga DVDs that are available at . Her digital product is a great resource. To learn more about Susan visit her website You can also connect with Susan on , , and .