May 11, 2015
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I confess that I am quite cynical about the term “mission statement.” In my experience in the business world, a mission statement is an exercise in public relations where management attempts to come down on the right side of every hot button issue of the day. Creating a mission statement has generally been an exercise in creative writing, not a serious attempt to redefine the values that will guide corporate decisions in the future.
Nevertheless, when I attended the recent Christian writers workshop and listened to Janice Dick advocate that writers create a mission statement for their work something clicked in my mind. Jan has published four books of historical fiction and I think she might just know something that hadn’t occurred to me before.
Creating a mission statement will help a writer clarify his thinking, decide just what his goal is, and direct his activities towards that goal. If a writer works in different formats and genres the mission statement will probably need to be tweaked and fine-tuned for each project. Here are the five questions that Jan suggested to help us create our mission statement (with my additions in brackets).
1. What do I do? (Am I a historian? a business writer? a story teller? an apologist? a fiction writer? a devotional writer? a doctrinal writer? etc., etc.)
2. How do I do it? (How much research is needed? Where do I get my inspiration?)
3. What is the value of what I do?
4. Who am I doing it for? (Is my target audience children? teens? young adults? seniors? believers? seekers? skeptics? mothers? teachers? etc. etc.)
5. What do I believe and why? (My faith does not need to be on display in every word that I write, but a lack of integrity will make my writing weak and ineffective.)