As self-employees, self-motivators, self-doers, sometimes we are not confident with our results because we have not yet set the parameters.
Or maybe we’ve lost sight of our why–why we do what we do in the first place.
The key to staying motivated and on-task in our writing and professional lives could be as simple as putting our talent to good use by crafting a Mission Statement.
I recently read Laura Munson’s memoir, This Is Not the Story You Think It Is, and didn’t miss the detail that her mission statement–which she refers to as “my Author’s Statement”–(and the introspection gained through two trips to Italy–but that’s another post for another day) carried her with integrity through years of an “unsuccessful” writing career and even brought her surprising strength through what could have been crippling hardship in her personal life.
This is Laura’s Author’s Statement:
“I write to shine a light on an otherwise dim or even pitch-black corner, to provide relief for myself and others.”
It’s succinct, artful, and so obviously honest. She keeps it taped above her desk, amid photos of the most important people in her life, next to a picture of a bluebird named Hello, Friend that returns to their property each Spring’s thaw. All of these symbols of hope. She takes that mission statement very seriously, she says.
And in exchange for the seriousness and respect she shows those two little lines, Laura is rewarded with purpose unwavering.
In her book, Lights, Camera, Take Action: 52 Weeks to a Better Life, One Movie at a Time, Joe Williams-Nelson says, “The most important thing we must be for ourselves is the one person who believes in our mission statement the most.” Just like Laura.
Do you know what your Author Statement would say? What would give the most life to your writing and its purpose if you looked up from your notebook or computer screen and read the combination of letters that would define it?
Joe offers a series of questions to be answered with “I am…” statements to help her readers pin down their purpose. But we can begin with one. “Why?” Because, at the beginning, before we wrote the first word of our first novel, short story, or poem, we already had a word. That same word. Our “why.”
If you’ve been meaning to find it or you’ve never even bothered to define it, do so now. Then troubleshoot the things that obscure it or make your forget it and deal with those as well. Me? Once I established my Author Statement, I saved it as a background on my laptop. It reminds me what I’d rather be doing when I almost click on the Chrome icon to see what’s happening on Facebook or Pinterest.
My Author Statement keeps me honest with myself. It gives me a reasonable (but not sissy) expectation to meet, a guideline that gets me back on track when my attention or work ethic wander. It can be hazardous to compare yourself to others, so be confident in your own pre-determined and established criteria for success.