To review: (you can read that post in its entirety here)
Habit One: Be Proactive.
The underlying principle of this habit is to take individual responsibility for our life and choices.
Your life is a product of your values not your feelings.
Being proactive means you take the initiative to do whatever is necessary to make good things happen.
Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind.
Covey wasn't referring to pantsers and plotters.
"If habit one says you are the programmer (you get to choose if you will act or react), then habit two says write the program (the program for your life)."- Steven R. Covey.
- Don't live somebody else's writer life.
- Don't measure yourself by someone else's yardstick.
- Don't find yourself chasing someone else's vision.
This habit is based on writing the program for your writer life according to your value system, your mission statement. The opposite would be to have no mission statement, thus allowing life to happen with no objective in mind.
What is your life as a writer about? Make sure that what you think you want...what you think you are about, is really what you want and what you value.
Every single decision and goal and plan should be influenced by your mission statement, your personal philosophy, or creed, and that is determined by what is important to you.
Yes, you can say that God is your vision, your mission and value system, but we all have different missions and gifts from God. Sorry, but you'll have to dig deeper.
Mission statements according to Covey are not created, they are uncovered. Subconsciously at first and consciously later as we mature as writers and uncover our mission statement, our books will reflect that mission statement. It will provide a continuing sense of guidance in our writing life.
Let me share some very vivid examples.
Writer Julie Cantrell won the Carol Award last year (When Mountains Move) and her speech profoundly touched me and was in fact, her mission statement. You can hear what she says here at the Live Video of the awards at 58:17.
Julie Lessman is another very vivid example. A Passion Most Pure is Julie's Mission Statement. She believes it, she lives it and she writes it. From her webpage:
Hello ... I’m Julie Lessman, an Inspirational Romance author with a passion for God and a passion for romance. As an adult, I quickly learned that true romance is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. And one pass through the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all, deeply passionate in His love for each of us. Through my love affair with Him, I have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. I hope you enjoy my stories ... and may they bring you closer to the Father’s heart.
Ruth Logan Herne writes about "hope, love and redemption." But you can recognize a Ruthy book right away because she dares to write about real life issues (the uncomfortable stuff) and real people who change and grow and are forgiven and redeemed by a good God.
These examples aren't simply tag lines. These are truly the guiding mission statements for these writers. Covey tells us that our personal mission statements should focus on what we want to be (our internal character and values) and what we want to do (our contribution to this world). I'm sure you can name other writers that you know personally who live and write their writer mission statement.
So think about it. What is the important contribution you want to make as a writer? What do you need to tell the world through your stories? What do you want your writer epitaph to say?
Creating a mission statement takes time, so the information I am going to share now is for you to print off and think and pray about. You don't rush a mission statement.
Remember that mission statements are timeless. They are not goals and they are not wishes.
This is a goal:
- Win a contest.
- Sell a book.
- Make the Times List.
This is a mission statement:
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
-Martin Luther King Jr.
And so is this:
Norman Schwarzkopf: A man does not get to write his own epitaph. But if I were to write mine it would say the following: He loved his family, and he loved his troops, and they loved him -- period.Here are examples of mission statements of five famous CEOs.
I wrote my own personal mission statement for my writer life and my personal life using Michael Hyatt's Creating a Personal Life Plan. Now available as part of his Platform book on Amazon.
You can also go to the Franklin Covey site and create one. This site also lists mission statements of some pretty famous people who will inspire you.
Eventually the trappings of the writing world fall away, but if you create a personal mission statement you will be left with what really matters.
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