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?
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):
- What do I do?
Be specific here. Do you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry? What is your motivation and your purpose?
- Who do I do it for?
In other words, who is your audience? Again, be specific. What do my readers expect from me?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.