Hello, dear readers and writers! As promised, today we are going to talk about creating a…drumroll, please…Writer’s Mission Statement. Now you may be asking, what is a mission statement, and why would I need such a thing as a writer?
The short answer is, mission statements are important to define your vision and keep on track when making decisions. Most businesses and organizations have one, even if it isn’t formally written down. Even our church has one, to help define what matters most to our leadership and congregation.
Anybody who is writing with the intent of publishing is essentially working toward being an entrepenuer also, whether you plan to partner with an agent/ traditional publisher or go it alone as an indie author. And like any business owner, you’ll have to make decisions along the way. Which project will you write next? How will you publish and market your work? Your mission statement can help you answer those questions.
Some weeks back, I had the privilege of participating in a #StorySocial Twitter chat (an online discussion for writers) about the topic of creating a mission statement. Our chat hostess, Kristen Keiffer, walked us through five key elements to include in our mission statements. She also has a fabulous post going through each of these elements in detail on her website; I’m only going to give you the basic questions here, along with my answers.
Question #1 – Who are you as a writer?
Get creative! Paint a picture with words that conveys what you do when you sit down to write.
Here’s my answer: “I am a seeker of wonder, beauty, and truth, and a weaver of words.”
Question #2 – Who are you writing for?
Yes, I know I ended with a preposition (sorry, Ms. Tylavsky). But you get the idea – who is your audience? Who will read and savor your work? If you write in more than one genre like I do, the answer might be different depending on the project. You might even create more than one mission statement. For simplicity’s sake, I came up with something that would apply to all my work.
“My stories are for those looking for adventure, romance, and fantasy that is challenging and authentic but still clean.”
Question #3 – What makes you unique?
What are you bringing to your work that nobody else can offer? What life experiences, interests, skills, or perspectives makes you uniquely different?
My answer: “I believe stories have the power to teach us about the real world, and as a Christian and lover of the classics, I instinctively seek truth and beauty in my work. Because I moved so frequently as a child, I can relate to new settings and cultures, and I know what it’s like to feel like an outsider.”
That one’s a little long, so I’ll trim it a bit for my final version.
Question #4 – What are your goals as a writer?
Think both short and long term. What do you want to accomplish? Don’t be afraid to dream big!
I said: “One day I want to hold my book in my hands. I want to hear how my stories have impacted somebody’s life for the better. I want to earn money for my work and get it into readers’ hands.”
Question #5 – How are you going to get there?
What’s your plan to accomplish your goals? It can be broad, but it should be clear enough to give you direction. And it’s okay to change your mind, and change your mission statement, as you grow as a writer.
Here’s my answer: “My goal is to make each story better than the last. To write, revise, and publish (whether traditionally or independently) each story as I finish it. I would love to publish five books in the next ten years.”
Now you can take all of your answers and polish them into a tidy little gem. Here’s what I came up with:
“I am a seeker of wonder, beauty, and truth, and a weaver of words. My stories are for those looking for adventure, romance, and fantasy that is challenging and authentic but still clean. I believe stories have the power to teach us about the real world, and as a Christian and lover of the classics, I instinctively seek truth and beauty in my work. One day I want to hold my book in my hands and hear how my stories have impacted somebody’s life for the better. I plan to continue writing and revising new stories as I seek publication for finished work, considering both traditional and indie publishing options.”
And there we have it! A writer’s mission statement, in five easy questions. Questions or comments? Please feel free to share below, or share your own mission statement!
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