Monday, January 29, 2007

Mission Statements - my take

Kristen over at Inkthinker wrote this morning about "mission statements." I did the Covey thing a few years ago and wrote a personal mission statement. When I started to write a business plan for writing (which never got finished) one of the tasks was to outline the elements of a mission statement for the business (in my case writing) but I didn't actually punch it out.

So why didn't I finish it? Well, if you must know, in one sense it was an exercise. I wasn't finding work as soon as I had hoped after I finished my degree and I did have the idea of eventually striking out on my own; so working on a business plan created something to "work" on while I looked for work. I would get up and dress for work and work on figuring out what a business plan was and what mine might look like. And I also spent some of the time looking for work. But the only work I found was an admin slot for an acquaintance and she took me with the agreement that I was biding my time and re-acclimating to work life.

So...since I have determined that it is time to move on I was mulling on the "mission statement" issue on my own. But I hadn't considered also taking out my business plan outline and looking it over to see if finishing it is something I should do now, even if I don't think jumping into the freelance pool is the next step. But what do I know; except that I have very little to recommend me at this point. Kristen's post about Sheila Scarborough's essay pointed out that my writing of late has been squashed around the rest of life and that has got to change. But it is hard to get others (non-writers) to understand that you are doing serious work not dabbling at a hobby.

Of course non-writers are not the only ones who make assumptions. There are some local "writers" I am acquainted with who are into a specific fiction genre. I have been getting a lot of encouragement to attend one of their meetings and bring my "manuscript." But I am not working on a book and I don't write fiction; so it doesn't feel like a good fit. It is true that I miss the writing center at the university. I would spend hours there talking about projects and prose and flow and so forth. But I don't know how to find that kind of writing community on the outside. And one thing I have heard/read from other writers is that the wrong writing group can be worse than none. The blogosphere provides a form of substitute but it is not the same as bouncing ideas and drafts off real people.

I also just remembered that Roy Peter Clark at Poynter Online suggests a "mission statement for writing" in #40 of his Fifty Writing Tools Quick List. His specific suggestion is that each article have a short statement to guide its development. It's an interesting concept.

So thanks Kristen for posting this timely reminder that I need to get back on this project of a mission statement.

1 comment:

Kristen King, Inkthinker said...

Excellent post! You've been putting a lot of thought into this, and that's what's going to help you succeed.

Keep me posted on the mission statement.

And thanks for the link to Clark's list. I'll definitely be blogging it.

kk :]