Writing a Mission Statement

(This is adapted from a session at the SCWC's Write Away workshop on Oct. 16 in Orange Beach, Alabama, and online.)

What is a mission statement?

~ A mission statement is an action-based statement that declares your purpose and how you serve your readers. ~

A mission statement is an effective tool for writers to get on track and stay motivated in their writing. It's similar to statements created by businesses, corporations, schools, even churches.

Here are some examples of simple, effective mission statements from well-known companies:

Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

TED: “To spread ideas.”

Nordstrom: “To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.”

You can also read sample missions statements from writers. Here are two examples:

“To earn a living as a full-time, family-first writer of humorous, engaging fiction novels and short stories.” (author Dan Brotzel)

“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.” (author Joanne Phillips)

Do you want to write a mission statement for yourself?

Consider these 4 Ws of mission statements, and try to answer these questions:

1. What do you write?

2. Who do you write for?

3. Why do you write?

4. What do you want to accomplish?

As you write your mission statement, remember that you want to use your mission statement well. Don't just write it and then forget it.

Make your mission statement visible (print it out and put it where you can see it regularly), and then reference it as you write. If what you're writing doesn't fit into the parameters of your mission statement, consider whether you need to spend time writing on that project.

It's almost important to realize that you can have more than one mission statement. You may want to write one for different areas of writing, or one for each of your different projects.

Spend some time soon writing a mission statement.

Share with us if you'd like!

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