Let’s talk about your mission as a writer. Your Mission Statement…
I have a philosophy about reading: Always be reading two books, one for pleasure and one for the profession. I’ll never know everything, and as time goes by, I will probably forget things I once knew, or they’ll fade into the background noise of assumed knowledge–the things we know but don’t think about, and therefore can’t plan around. So, I’m always reading either an advanced or basic book on the craft or profession of writing.
At the same time, reading for pleasure is both enjoyable (obviously) and critical to continuing to grow as a writer. Being exposed to ideas, techniques, wording, themes we might not have seen before… these all make us grow as writers, too. Because of these two factors–fun and growth–I also always have a novel cracked open.
Recently, I was invited to join a Facebook group, For Love or Money. The description was compelling, so I joined, and I’m glad I did. It’s a great group full of knowledge and wisdom on writing. But the group focuses on implementing the ideas presented in two books by S.K. Quinn, the Indie Author Survival Guide and of course, For Love or Money. I went ahead and bought the Indie Author Survival Guide, and I’m glad I did. It’s not as “mechanical” as most of the professional books I read, but it has enough crunch to make it worth wading through the motivational fluff.
I’m hardly into the book, but I’ve already been struck by the book’s premise, a novel idea (pardon the pun), which is that writers should have a Mission Statement and a 5-Year Plan. The author spends a couple pages explaining why, and it’s enough to just say that I was absolutely convinced.
The book lists four things to cover in one’s mission statement, then goes through what should be in the long-term plan. My writing has two distinct sides to it. On the one hand, I want to be a novelist. On the other, I am a freelance writer. I know where I’m going with my freelance writing, but I thought, what better way to figure out my novelist path than by following this advice, and creating a mission statement? I came up with something I think fits me. I’ll revisit it every year, but it shouldn’t change much year to year. Here’s mine, but what’s yours?
To leverage my knowledge of trauma, science, warfare, and permaculture to create stories that reflect humanity’s darker side, but which show hope for the future through abstracting permaculture tropes and mores. To push the boundaries of dark fiction into genres beyond Post-Apocalyptic, while improving my writing continually. To write a large volume of works in multiple genres, reaching the largest audience possible. To be a leader and member of a supportive writing community through social networking, striving to help those I can while receiving help with humility when offered.
After mission statements, the book talks about a 5-year plan. If the mission statement is a concise statement about your core values, then a 5-year plan is your roadmap for activity to keep you focused and efficient. I think my situation and personal wishes will change too much to create a 5-year plan. But how about a one-year plan that takes my mission statement and turns it into an action plan?
So, in the next 12 months, my goal is to draft 3 connected novels in one genre that I haven’t written in before. This will require one novel published every four months. At 80k-words per novel, that’s 20k per month, or just under 1k words per work day and weekends for outlining & planning each novel. I believe that’s possible with my current workload but right now, I have two different fiction works in progress (one short-term and one with a longer deadline), and one nonfiction (also with a longer deadline). I won’t accept another long-term project until I’ve finished BOTH of my current long-term gigs. By doing that, I think I can hit my 12-month plan, though I may need to write more than 1k to make up for times when I can’t get to it.
What about you? What’s your Mission Statement–what are your core values? If you had a 12-month contract with yourself, what would that look like?