Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tips to Develop Your Own Writing Mission Statement

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted


I recently began attending an intense writing class. It’s true that a good writer never stops learning, and I want to always present my best work, so you can imagine my surprise when the first comment from the instructor was a question. What is your mission statement?

A mission statement was never something I considered for my writing. We have one in place for our ministry and for our conference, but a personal mission statement for my writing just never occurred to me.

It’s a nerve-racking moment when you’re put on the spot to answer a question you haven’t pondered. Amid other Christian writers, I wanted to be sure I had the spiritual aspect known, but that’s when the instructor threw me for a loop. It’s a given we are here because we want to write for God in some aspect. So, move beyond that and think deeper. There went my easy mission statement.

In fact, our homework was to devise our statement for the following week. I can’t lie, it wore on me the full hour and fifteen minutes it took me to drive home, but it was one of the best writing lessons I’ve learned in a long time.

What compiling a mission statement taught me:
  • To be prayerful about the work I claim to give to God – It’s easy to be a Pharisee and proudly tell the world we write for God. The question is, do we really? Do we pray over every work and ask God’s guidance or even ask if the work we are doing is within His will? It was definitely food for thought. Learning to listen to the still soft voice that guides us, leads us work that makes the perfect impact.
  • To focus my writing on a deeper personal level – Taking time to consider personal experience, more intense learning, and stepping up to the plate to improve my work. It’s easy to fall into a comfortable writing place, never challenging ourselves to take our writing to the next level. This needed to be included into my statement as a commitment to further my skills.
  • To commit to producing work daily – This is a biggie. Life happens to us all, but life at its hardest is not an excuse to stop writing. Often, writers grow frustrated and feel life’s trials have grown too overwhelming. I recently spoke with a friend at a conference who’s penned over 40 books. As we talked about writing despite the things that happen, he told me how he turned out three best-selling books as he walked his mother through hospice and into heaven. “Writing during Mom’s illness, drew out emotion and words, even phrases, I didn’t know I had in me. To this day, those three books are still the most remembered of my works.” Valuable insight. Keep writing, despite . . .
  • To set goals – I’ve never been a goal setter, or one who wrote my goals down, but the one time I attended a business conference and was asked to write down my personal goals, I learned something very surprising. My personal goals were not for the business at all, they were to be a writer. I went home, spoke with my director, let her know my focus would be on writing, and I would be stepping aside. And step aside I did. That spring, I attended my first writers conference. It took writing down my goals to not only visually see them, but to come to grips with what my heart’s desire truly was.
  • To remind me of the race I am called to run – I can see now, writing a mission statement not only helps me focus, but it holds me accountable. Accountability is important for us in every aspect of our lives. Reading this statement daily continually reminds me of the race I run and strive to finish not only in my spiritual life and relationship with Christ, but also in my earthly life.

Who would have thought compiling a mission statement for my writing would be such an important facet to my career?

Take time to think through the real reasons you write. Be it to earn a living, share stories, or something you do as a sideline. Allow your statement to bring into focus the desires of your heart as a writer.

The mission statement of my writing career is multi-faceted. First and foremost, I want to be mindful of the gifts and pathway God has set in place for me. I pray I might write words that impact the lives of others. I choose to place before the Father every work I do, be it large or small, simple or complex, and that the goal remains – to always be a glory to my God. I will have an attitude of graciousness, a teachable spirit, and a heart to continue to strive to learn and challenge myself to be the best I can be in my work – for God asks me to present my best to Him. I commit to use my gifts daily, even when it is hard, knowing that God refines me by the fires through which I may walk and that with continued effort during trials and my dependence on Him, He will fully use me to His glory. I pray He will bless my work. I am called to write, to daily seek the words God has stored in my heart, and to continually strive to complete each task and every story. And I understand that personal accolades are nice, but what is most important is that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart are acceptable to Him. By daily striving to meet the goals of this statement, I will grow in creativity and in skill to produce excellent work, through Him who gives me strength.


Write your mission statement. Make it personal. Make it a challenge to your spiritual life as well as your professional life, and then place it at the feet of Christ. You will be amazed at the ways you will grow as a writer. 

TWEETABLE


Cindy Sproles is an award-winning author and popular speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions ministries and managing editor of Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is the executive editor of
www.christiandevotions.us and 
www.inspireafire.comShe teaches at writers 
conferences nationwide and directs The Asheville Christian Writers Conference - Writers Boot Camp. 

She is the author of two devotionals, He Said, She Said - Learning to Live a Life of Passion and New Sheets - Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be. Cindy's debut novel, Mercy's Rain, is available at major retailers. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and book her for your next conference or ladies retreat. Also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

15 comments:

  1. Cindy, Thank you for sharing. I'm writing my mission statement this week. I will pray first.

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  2. This was excellent! I will be praying and and writing a mission statement. Thank you.

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    1. Great. You'll see it makes a difference.

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  3. What an eye opener your post is. I have never taken the time to find my mission statement, either, but I will be seeking the Lord now to get more focused on His purpose.

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  4. Awesome. It's a real boost to your writing.

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  5. Cindy, your post is extremely important, not only for writers, but also for anyone who seeks to know God and His purpose for one's life. Many years ago, I wrote my Mission Statement for my writing after reading an outstanding book by Laurie Beth Jones called THE PATH: CREATING YOUR MISSION STATEMENT FOR WORK AND FOR LIFE. Laurie is a Christian, and her book was of outstanding help to me in creating my own mission statement. I now keep my mission statement as the display on my computer screen where I can continually be reminded of God's purpose for my writing. As a Certified Life Coach, I have used Laurie Beth Jones's book as a tool in helping my clients create their own mission statements. A mission statement is like a compass. It reminds us of where we are going and keeps us on course in getting there. Thank you for your most relevant post. Blessings to you!

    MaryAnn
    _____________________________
    MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, DMin, MFA
    Author, Teacher, & Life Coach
    www.maryanndiorio.com

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    1. Yes it is. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  6. Cindy, your posts are always meaty, meaningful, and motivating. Today's message is a difference maker for those of us who will take on the challenge.

    Like MaryAnn Diorio, I've used Laurie Beth Jones' book called THE PATH in guiding me to write mission (purpose) statements for all kinds of projects for years. There are 10 pages that has a simple guide system that works and makes writing a mission statement a breeze. After learning this process, it is easy to go deeper into creating a mission statement that is a guideline to stay on task.

    Cindy, you're the best. May your mission as an encourager and teacher to writers continue to shine with your love for the Lord.
    Shine on!

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    1. Just saying "hi" to my dear friend Carolyn~ She's part of why/how I wrote my mission statement!

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  7. Thank you, Cindy. I have a mission statement. However, after reading yours I feel it needs to be more personal and less vague.

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    1. It's something you have to think through. It's very easy to put down the simple things. But to dig into your heart for the meat of your purpose...is a challenge.

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  8. Love this post! I wrote my mission state after I attended the Christian Communicators Conference.

    "To bless, encourage, and restore hope--especially to the forsaken."

    Love,
    Julie

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  9. I served in the military where mission statements are part of the culture. I need to dig deeper within myself. I've taken the easy way here and it hasn't borne fruit.

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