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Need Motivation and Focus?
The Art of Creating a Writer’s Mission Statement

by Beth Morrow

Copyright 2007 - All Rights Reserved

 

Ready for a quick writer’s quiz?

In one or two sentences, answer these three questions about the last piece of writing you completed (or started with the intention to complete, even if you didn’t quite get finished):

  • Who was the intended audience/reader of your piece?
     

  • What was the single most important point of your piece?
     

  • If the reader thought about your piece one week after reading it, what do you think their dominant impression/recollection would be?

  • Difficult, isn’t it?

    Having a creative mind is positive in many ways: mental flexibility, the ability to think outside the box, creative types are often more optimistic and willing to take on challenges and the level of attention to detail and observation in the creative mind is far more finely tuned than the average person. On the other hand, at times, the sense of limitless possibilities throws writers for a loop when we face the issue of narrowing ourselves, our ideas and our writing—even when it’s a necessary evil.

    Spending a little time, then, at the beginning of each new project to create a writer’s purpose, or mission statement, for the project you’re about to embark upon is one way to help stay motivated by focusing your imaginative mind on the initial goal you set out to accomplish. New problems and promising project ideas that seem to inevitably pop up when we’re deeply entrenched in one piece of work divert our attention and sometimes subconsciously sabotage our best efforts to remain focused on the work at hand—a curse of the creative mind. Creating a mission statement for each project can help regain—and retain—that spark of excitement that will drive us to completion of our work.

    But how to create a writer’s mission statement? It isn’t as intimidating (or time-consuming) as it sounds. A successful writer’s mission statement contains only two crucial items:

  • What you wish/plan to accomplish with this piece of writing
     

  • How this piece of writing will contribute to the life of the reader

  •  

    A few sample writer’s mission statements…

    The mission for my cooking columns is to bring readers a new recipe with a family story each month. I want readers to remember that food is an integral component to creating positive family memories.

    The mission of Mandi’s Lucky Day is to help readers escape reality for a few minutes and spark the belief that the possibility of love can show up when we least expect it.

    The mission of my research article on Bats of the Midwest is to inform readers about the agricultural benefits of bats. My hope is that readers will no longer fear bats or see them as nuisances or Halloween decorations, but realize their presence is crucial to the ecosystem.

    The mission of my interview with Lloyd Carr is to show the human side of a football coach who impacted the life of his players in many positive ways. I want readers to feel there’s more to a coach than the legacy of a losing career record against his arch rival.

    The mission of my book reviews is to share insight with writers on the contents of a book that might help their career or writing processes. I’d like readers to be concurrently entertained and informed.

     

    Mission statements should vary by project and type of writing. The mission statement you create for your short horror story obviously won’t work when you begin a nonfiction feature on types of dog treats. You can create a mission statement for each genre of writing you do: one mission statement for your nonfiction educational articles, another for your romance novels and yet another for your copywriting business. Or you can craft individual mission statements for each project as you go. The most important reason for taking a few minutes to create a mission statement is to maintain motivation and focus toward the writing goals you’ve set for yourself.

    Once you’ve created the perfect mission statement, don’t hide it in the drawer along with your last unfinished story. Make copies, post them in places where they’re most likely to inspire you, both as you’re writing and when you aren’t. Use them as mantras to keep focus on your writing when you aren’t sitting down to write, and you’ll find your mind naturally settles faster when you do begin to write.

    Creating a writer’s mission statement takes but a few minutes of focused thought and can pay off with increased motivation, determination and focus toward finishing your writing projects. Spend some time thinking through what you want to leave behind when the reader finishes your piece and you’ll find an added level of success to your projects. Start small, and use writer’s mission statements as guidelines for yourself and your career. If you don’t know where you’re going and why, how will you ever know you’ve arrived?

     

    About the author: Beth Morrow has many missions in life, one of which is to write as much as her fingers can handle. Her first fiction short story, Mandi’s Lucky Day, is an upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press, and she’s currently knee-deep in research for an upcoming business book. Visit her online at: www.bethmorrow.com or her blog at: www.writer-in-progress.blogspot.com