Feeds:
Posts
Comments

A Mission Statement for Writers

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels? Like you are writing randomly?

It’s not that we have nothing to write about. Most of us, as writers, have so many ideas, so many projects in the back of our minds, that there are times we just don’t know where to start. At least, that’s where I’ve been lately.

Writing is not easy, and sometimes we find ourselves asking, “Why do I do this?” And similar questions. This quandary led me to think of my purpose as a writer. I know deep down that I have a purpose and a passion for writing. But what happened to my plan?

1377015499jznkj

So I googled “how to write a mission statement.” Here’s what I discovered (rediscovered):

One of the sites I found was Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn (excellent writing resource), featuring Shannon from Duolit: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/08/03/mission-statement/. Shannon suggests the following questions (with my comments following):

  1. What do I do?

Be specific here. Do you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry? What is your motivation and your purpose?

  1. Who do I do it for?

In other words, who is your audience? Again, be specific. What do my readers expect from me?

  1. Why am I different?

This refers to your writing! What makes your writing unique? What makes it stand out from other writing of similar style and genre?

I find this a tough question. Just start writing something and you may be surprised with what comes out.

  1. Where am I going?

I see this as a directional question. What projects do I have in mind? Make a list. Organize it by level of importance (if you can…this is also one of my tough spots right now).

  1. How am I going to get there?

Beside each project, write two or three ideas on how to make it happen. You may also want to include possible timelines for each. These are, of course, completely adjustable. To start myself off, I began with a few of the projects I have already completed. This gave me a bit of momentum to carry on.

Now refine your answers (suggests Shannon) to one simple sentence for each question (save your original musings for reference). Then put all five together into a paragraph. Use present tense.

A few other sites I stumbled upon are:

Allen Watson’s ideas on Indie Mission Statement: https://authorallenwatson.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/your-indie-author-mission-statement/

Then from Darla at http://www.darlawrites.com/create-writer-mission-statement/:

(This is not verbatim.)

    • Start with your thoughts, hopes, dreams
    • Focus on a single writing goal (perhaps quality, being read, etc.)
    • Choose two or three things that will help me meet my goal
    • Write, write and rewrite this mission statement until it’s perfect for me
    • Memorize it
    • Print it out and post it in a prominent place
    • Share it, claim it, live it

And here’s a sample mission statement from Joanne Phillips: https://joannegphillips.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/author-mission-statements/

        “I write stories to entertain and offer a temporary escape into another life. I create interesting characters who may linger with the reader long after she’s finished the story. I write about characters who learn to examine their lives – their motivations, their hopes and fears – and find the courage to change. I write about the important stuff, but with a light touch. I write about the four Ls: life, love, loss and lies – including the lies we tell ourselves. And yes, I want to change the world. A little tiny bit of it, anyway.”

I will also include my very unfinished mission statement that I created with the help of the above information. Lots of tweaking yet to be done:

    “I create quality writing that reflects life and offers hope and a future, because that’s what I’ve been given. My readers are people who grasp truth through story, whether historical or contemporary. I write quality fiction (and non-fiction) from a Christian worldview, offering hope in spite of life’s difficulties. My goals are to independently publish both historical and contemporary fiction, as well as blogs, book reviews and how-to mini-books, and to learn how to market these to readers. I love stories with welcoming settings, a steadily moving plot, fascinating and usually quirky characters, a bit of romance, quite a few secrets, and some mystery, all combined in a gentle but realistic read.”

So have a little fun with this. I have already felt more motivated by reviewing these questions and my tentative answers. Don’t edit yourself when you begin. You can trim later. Right now you need to unload your ideas as fully as possible. If you are willing to share your mission statement, include it in the comments section below. You never know who you might inspire.

51YncIgjSFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_This Regency Era historical novel by Julie Klassen started a bit slowly for me. I think the reason is that the opening scene is not focused on the main character. But as we meet Hannah Rogers and the rest of the cast of this story, as events and people fall into place, we are swept along on the tide of intriguing characters, questionable motivations, and unexpected developments.

To hide the birth of her son, Hannah Rogers has fled her position as ladies’ maid to Lady Marianna Mayfield. However, Hannah desperately needs money to pay the woman who looks after little Danny, so she asks if she may return to the Mayfield household.

Lady Marianna accepts Hannah’s proposal, because she and her husband are leaving Bath for another town and she doesn’t wish to go without a personal maid. The reason for the move is that Sir John Mayfield is trying to keep his wife from seeing her lover.

On the journey, a storm forces the carriage off the road and almost into the sea. When Hannah regains consciousness, only she and Sir John remain. The doctor who finds them assumes Hannah is Lady Mayfield, and that the red cloak he sees floating away in the tempestuous waves is the ladies’ maid. The misunderstanding lingers, since Sir John is insensible and near death, and cannot correct them. When Hannah realizes that people think she is Lady Mayfield, she keeps her secret, hoping to stay until her injured arm heals and she can return to Bath to pay her debt and collect her son.

To complicate plans, Sir John’s solicitor arrives, and although he’s never met either Lady Marianna or Hannah, he is suspicious about her identity, even as he is drawn to her kind manner and gentle ways. She does not match the description he has been given of Lady Mayfield, in looks or in character.

The tension hinges on whether Hannah can execute an escape before someone reveals her true identity. The plot continues to surprise, until the reader has no idea how it will end. I sensed a touch of Jane Eyre at times, a mystery in both storyline and characters.

Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen

Author Julie Klassen has written many other books in the Regency Era, all well-crafted and researched. They are generally gentle reads with strong moral values and faith lessons, all woven seamlessly into absorbing stories.

 

Do It Now!

There’s no time like the present


clock-1376139_960_720

 

Have I used that line before in my blogs? Probably. And I’ll most likely use it again.

I use Scrivener to write my books and short stories. It works extremely well, I can store everything related to the project in one place, and it saves my work (I also use an external storage device to make sure it’s saved). But I have neglected to learn how to create the appropriate files directly from Scrivener to Kindle…until this week.Scrivener Logo

What do you do when you don’t know how to proceed? First, you pray. Then you sleep on it. Then (please forgive the sense of flippancy; it’s not intended), you google it. I discovered several great videos on how to use Scrivener Compile, besides the lengthy notes I had from the online courses I had taken some time ago.

The best site, in my estimation, is http://susanrussoanderson.com/2014/02/18/how-to-compile-a-sparkling-mobi-in-scrivener-for-windows/. (I use a Mac, but it still worked fine.) To be honest, I found it even more user-friendly than the Scrivener how-to videos at Literature and Latte, https://www.literatureandlatte.com/videos/CompilingUsingFormatPresetsLarge.mov, although they work too. So take your pick or combine them, whatever works best for you.

The Susan Russo Anderson video mentioned above requires that front and back matter be formatted in the Scrivener program and included “As Is” during compile. But I discovered that the Literature and Latte site explained how to make the text editing usable during compile. So, either way, it works. And the more you play with it, the more comfortable and less confusing it becomes.

I think the secret to learning how to work with a new program like Scrivener Compile is to start small. I have a short story I’ve been wanting to publish for a while. It’s 10K in length, so it includes all the elements I need to practice on, but it’s not novel-length. So I worked with that story. I only Compiled it seven times before I was reasonably happy with the outcome! I have yet to press Publish, because I need to do some promotional things, but it’s saved in draft.

So, if you’ve been procrastinating in some areas of your indie writing, press on today. There’s no time like the present.

amplification-1294300_960_720Voice can be a problematic element in fiction writing. What is voice? Is it something we are or something we learn? Can it be honed and perfected? Can it be copied? (For a more in-depth look at Voice, check out my blog from October 15, 2015.)

I believe voice in fiction is who we are. Yes, it can change and grow and mature, but it essentially reflects our inner selves. I think our writing voice develops as we use it, just as a child learns to speak by listening and speaking.

Voice can also be a spiritual puzzle. Can we really hear God’s voice? What does it sound like? How do we know if what we hear is genuine?

I think when we begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, we hear His voice as it calls to us. If we practice listening, we become constantly more in tune with His Words. And if we take the next step—obedience to God’s voice—we become more confident in voice recognition. On the other hand, if we block out or ignore the voice of God, we lose touch with how He sounds, what He asks of us.

As we write, let’s consider not only our author voice, but also, and much more importantly, the voice of God’s Spirit within us.

“…if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”

You’ve all heard this quote by Zig Ziglar, and I’ve used it in my blogs before.

Do we really want to leave ourselves open to whatever happens? Speaking for myself, I’d rather decide what I want to accomplish, figure out how to get it done, what I need for the journey, and when it will be completed.

Right now I have at least a dozen writing projects on my list of things to do. The problem is that I don’t have a measurable goal for accomplishing them. Random completion dates don’t quite cut it.

It’s good to have an idea, a list of things to do, but the how-to is the motivator. That’s what gets us moving toward actual accomplishment.

file0001564894818There are as many ways of organizing our writing and our time as there are people who care to consider the problem. The answer is to create a plan that works for you.

I love charts and graphs, but they can easily become a means of procrastination, a way of doodling instead of working. If we can keep our doodling to a minimum and use the charts and excel sheets to keep ourselves on track, then we will make progress.

My goal for today is to revisit my writing goals:

  • arrange the projects in order of importance
  • decide how to approach each project
  • figure out how long each step will take
  • come up with a completion date
  • remember that it’s okay, even advisable, to revisit these goals and adjust as I go

As long as we keep moving forward, toward our goals, we will be successful.

Karen Lamb said:

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

So true. Let’s get going.

 

 

51URniw8njL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve read a number of Lisa Wingate’s novels and enjoyed every one. Talk of the Town affirmed my love for Wingate’s writing. This contemporary Christian fiction is really funny. The characters are just crazy enough to be believable, and for those of us who grew up in or around a very small town, we understand the distinctiveness of the townspeople, their connectedness for better or for worse, the real life that happens in places most people have never heard of.

Mandalay Florentino is the associate producer for the reality TV show, American Megastar. She arrives in Daily, Texas from L.A. to set up the final countdown of the current season, which will feature small-town girl, Amber Anderson. Amber has come through the season with great applause, and now Mandalay is charged with keeping the hometown segment a secret.

There are several obstacles to Mandalay’s success. First of all, the tabloids have been alive lately with scorching gossip about Amber’s love life, which will hurt her ratings as a gospel singer. Will the paparazzi converge on Daily before the segment has been completed?

Secondly, Mandalay’s boss is a nasty piece of work who expects Mandalay to keep everything under wraps no matter what, and if she doesn’t, there’s no doubt her job will be on the line.

Thirdly, Mandalay has no idea how the news leaked out, but when she arrives in Daily, she sees a banner on Main Street declaring Amber as Megastar’s Hometown Finalist.

Meanwhile, sixty-something Imagene Doll is trying to come to terms with widowhood. She knows everyone in town, and as a “Dailyian,” she hears all the latest gossip. They all have concerns about their sweet Amber Anderson, and when “Amanda-lee” shows up in town, Imagene and her friends figure she must be connected with Amber’s show.

I love the quirkiness of Daily, the unique and often eccentric people who inhabit the town, and the unpredictable nature of the story itself. The local auto body shop is located in the same building as the hair salon, which is next door to the café where Imagene works. In Imagene’s words, “I’d come upon a dead raccoon on my way into town, so I was next door at the Daily Hair and Body getting my car fixed and my hair redone.”

Donetta, who sometimes sees visions in the window of her beauty shop, owns and operates the hair salon, and the neglected hotel. The Beulah Suite consists of two connected chambers. One features assorted Elvis memorabilia, which is where Mandalay is directed.

But who is Carter Woods and how did he end up in the other half of the Beulah suite, the one with the Care Bear theme? Does he also have connections with the show, or is he just a guy from a town down the road with other business to attend to? Wherever he’s from, Mandalay finds herself drawn to him, in spite of the fact that she is engaged to be married.

Author Lisa Wingate has succeeded in crafting an intriguing, entertaining and inspiring novel that manages to also focus the reader on the merits of living a life committed to the Lord. This spiritual aspect of life is rather new to Mandalay, but is being renewed in Imagene and her friends.

Another endearing aspect of this story is the strong moral implication that every person, no matter their background, financial status—good or bad—or personal baggage, is important to God and should be treated as such.

Throughout this rollicking story, basic tenets of faith and morality are intrinsic. Truth becomes the important factor that sorts out a lot of issues. When I reached the final page of the story, I wanted it to continue.

I give this book 5 stars because of the skill with which the author has woven together all the elements of a good story, and imbued it all with southern charm.

I noticed in the front matter that there’s a second book in the Daily, Texas series: Word Gets Around. I plan to read that one as soon as possible.

By the way, I read a free digital copy of this book, so check on the website for this option. Read, enjoy, and write your own review. Reviews and good ratings can make the day for a writer.

While attempting to make a slight change in the acknowledgements of my recently published print copy of Other Side of the River, I experienced a nasty shock. You see, in making even a small adjustment to the copy, one must re-submit the entire manuscript. Before ordering a box of books printed from the adjusted .pdf, I decided to check the newly submitted copy with CreateSpace’s internal editor option.

The first thing that caught my eye was that the spine print was off-center. Not good. How did it even pass inspection? I then took a closer look and discovered that all the chapter headings had lost their style and moved to the top of their respective pages. And, for some reason, there were more pages than there had been before, even though the print font was the same. That’s probably why the spine was off its mark.social-1206612_960_720

Upon further study, I realized I must have readjusted the document settings when I added the bit I wanted to change, and I had not taken clear enough notes and screenshots to ensure replication of the original submission. It was just too much to start from scratch for one additional sentence in the back matter section.

After sleeping on the problem, I opted for pulling the discarded “first .pdf” from the Trash (thankfully it was still there) and resubmitting that. After all, the book must be available again as soon as possible.

When I checked out the consequences of making a minor change in the e-book version, I came across several suggestions from other authors to “leave it alone. It’s too much fuss for anything minor.” So what is, will continue to be thus.

Another note:

Yesterday I discovered an invitation to authors to submit a Christmas novella to a certain publishing house. Immediately, my heart sped up as I remembered my contemporary Christmas story still awaiting publication.file0001193781245

But, my Indie Author self said: “Do not do this. You are giving away the rights and the option to use your story as a promotional tool.”

So I didn’t submit it. I’m hoping to publish that longish short story before Christmas under my own publishing logo. Yay for Indie Freedom!

%d bloggers like this: