All great businesses have a mission statement – a sentence or three or that sets out their purpose and ethos in a competitive market. Writers are in business too – the business of reaching readers and encouraging them to come back for more.
A mission statement isn’t quite the same things as a USP or byline. John Lewis’s never knowingly undersold is a catchy way of telling customers what they’re all about, but with a mission statement you need to go a bit further. It needs to resonate with you as a writer, it needs to keep you motivated and help you stay on the right path: the path that makes both you and readers happy. Single sentence summaries are great for describing novels, though, so you should definitely practise writing those too!
How to write a mission statement? Just open your heart and let it all pour out. When things get tough, someone will always ask you why you want to write. You can find quotes all over the internet from writers – quotes that contradict each other nicely! “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money” (Samuel Johnson), contrasted with “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends” (Stephen King), for example. The point is, you should write for your reasons, not someone else’s. Like affirmations, you should write your statement in the present tense, as if this isn’t an aim but is what you are already doing.
So, you can guess what’s coming next, right? My author mission statement. It might sound a bit cheesy! But I just like sharing 🙂
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’d love to read your mission statement, if you’d like to share 🙂