Otherwise, how will anyone find your book? If our goal is to have a career in writing, you must treat your writing with respect and operate as the C.E.O. of your writing business. It is true, we are not really alone when we write. We work with a number of editors, publishers, beta readers, professional cover designers, and others. We are not in this alone. But it can often feel that way when we’re in the heart of writing our novel, tucked away in our home office hunched over the computer, pounding out words that create a story.
Why do we need a mission statement? Because if we want to have a career in writing, we need to operate as a business, and businesses have mission statements. A mission statement is a short summary of the specific goals a company holds. While you can write a mission statement for your writing life as a whole, you may want to create a mission statement for each individual aspect of your writing life (e.g., blogs, books, articles). Or you may want to establish a mission statement for each book you write. Author Joanne Phillips shared her mission statement, as follows:
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.
Authors Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant know what they’re talking about when it comes to writing. As creative entrepreneurs, they, along with a third partner, created the story studio, Sterling & Stone. They also operate the podcast network Sterling & Stone FM. In their book, Iterate & Optimize: Optimize your Creative Business for Profit, Platt and Truant share the small rules they live by in their own writing lives:
We live by a few rules…
· Persistence is more important than perfection. If at first you don’t succeed, it doesn’t matter as
long as you always try, try again.
· Small improvements, made consistently, add up.
· You cannot fail unless you quit. What most people call failures are merely unsuccessful
experiments. Failures are bumps on the road as long as your story remains a work in progress.
· You can always do better with what you already have- and often, it’s much smarter to find ways
to do so than to invest time and money trying something entirely new as your next one sure
· And most importantly, being good doesn’t matter nearly as much as being slightly better than
What rules do you want to live by in your own writing life?
Speaking of author entrepreneurship, mission statements, and rules to live by, let’s not forget that by jump starting your writing life, you are catapulting yourself into a life that you love; to a life of work that you’re proud of. Perhaps bestselling author Dale Partridge said it best:
“If you want something big in this life, find out how to intensify your focus, multiply your motivation, and dig your heels deep into a life of discipline. You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic. And you can’t have a life you love without a lifetime payment of passion.”
There is no easy button to be found, and I’m sorry if I’m the first to break this to you. There just isn’t. If you’re still searching for a big green button that you can push to catapult you to all of your writing goals, you’ll find the big green button is full of hard work, dedication and lots of time spent, you guessed it, writing. It’s not do X and you’ll achieve bestselling author status. It’s a bunch of do A, B, C, D, E, F, G….and so on and take a calculated risk to see where that leads you. It’s following this simple advice: just keep writing. If you’re doing work that you love and that you believe in, even if it doesn’t lead you to the exact dream you visualized at one point, it will lead you to good things. Surrounding yourself with the work you love (writing) will manifest people who also love that work and support your goal. It will manifest opportunities. Doors that you never imagined existed will suddenly begin to open. It most likely won’t happen immediately, but it will happen with this small thing called persistence.
Don’t underestimate the small things. Don’t try and skip the small steps. They matter. And each experience, no matter how small, no matter unpaid or paid, no matter if it yields one reader or a million, each experience is a stepping stone forward. Don’t be afraid to start small. Start by writing every day. Start by setting small goals. Start by telling the world that you’re a writer (and by dropping the question mark when you say it to yourself. I am a writer? Upgrade that self-talk to: I am a writer). Be brave enough to take the first step to jump starting your writing life. Be bold enough to believe in yourself; to believe in your words. And be courageous enough to keep taking small steps; one after the other.
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