I wrote a mission statement for my fiction writing. And here it is:
Richard writes fiction in which ordinary people are thrown into extraordinary circumstances in order to witness the results. From horror to comedy, his stories and novels seek to entertain, inspire, enlighten, and amuse.
Of course, as a creative person, I’m supposed to eschew mission statements at every possible opportunity. Too corporate. Too business. Too stifling. Meaningless. Etc.
And yes, it’s true that a poorly-written mission statement can be restrictive and stifling, let alone meaningless and pointless. But I think this is a pretty good one. It sits in front of me and makes me think about the kind of writing I want to do, and reflects the writing I have done so far. I also think it will help me write better fiction.
And I’m not the only writer who’s created a wee mission statement for themselves. Some writers come up with a mission statement for every short story and novel that they write. That seems a bit excessive to me, but if it works for them, then I endorse it.
Thoughts? Feedback? All are welcome.
My idea to write a fiction writing mission statement came about primarily because I’ve been trying to delve into writing non-fiction, particularly science writing, and not having much luck doing so. I’ve been wanting to write articles and stories (and even books!) that are interesting, informative, culturally-relevant, and so on, without being pretentious or insulting. I want them to be engaging and entertaining and accessible and so on. It seems to me that science is under attack under the current administration, and effective science communication can be a form of resistance.
I figured a mission statement would help me focus, but writing one has been difficult. This is all I what I have so far. It’s inelegant and uninspiring:
I write science stories and articles which are accessible, engaging, and entertaining, which incorporate cultural relevance and history and art and philosophy, as well as respect for the readers’ intelligence. The point is not to disparage or insult misstatements and mistaken ideas, but to engage and enlighten.
I have a phone call this weekend with someone who might be able to help me focus and get me started on this route.
I know that neither of these are “true” mission statements, because they weren’t hashed out by a committee with no connection to the people it affects the most, and I didn’t fight with myself over the font and presentation for most of the long meeting I held writing them.
But… I think they just might help. If not, I’ll just toss ’em.