|Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli|
You’d never set off for a job interview without knowing exactly where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and how long it’s going to take. So why not apply that thinking to your writing? Develop a mission statement to keep your work on track.
A mission statement is a short, snappy way to keep your objective in focus as you work your way to success. Draw one up before you start your next big project. It will really help to keep you focussed. Don’t just say, “I want to write a book.” That’s too vague. It’s your future we’re talking about. Make it your plan.Tailor it specifically to what you want to do, such as; “I’m going to write a full-length historical romance by 30th April 2016”. That’s smart in more ways than one. It’s Specific, Measurable (you’ll either reach your target, or you won’t) Achievable, Realistic and you’ve given it a Time limit.
Print out plenty of copies of your mission statement. Keep one stuck to your fridge, on display in your office, beside your bed, as wallpaper on your computer screen—in fact, put one anywhere anywhere you’ll see it often.
Use incentives to encourage you. I use treats such as time out to watch my bees, eat a peach or a long reading session. Choose bigger treats for when you’ve had a successful week: a long soak in the bath, some time lazing in the garden, or my own favourite, retail therapy in a bookshop or stationery store. Choose a really big treat as the ultimate prize for when you complete your writing project. I forget the diet for once, and take my OH out to dinner. Of course, where there are prizes there have to be forfeits. Mine is to avoid social networks!
Here’s a basic template so you can create your own mission statement, with some ideas in italics to get you started. Substitute those words as necessary, and don’t forget to be specific. Personalising this declaration will make your project mean more to you, and that will help you to succeed.
“I am going to write a novel/non-fiction book. My long term dream goal is to record my thoughts for my descendants/achieve publication, which I’m going to achieve by (date).
In order to achieve my objective, I will draw up a schedule of what needs to be done each day, and set weekly targets, too. Every single time I hit my daily word-count, I’ll select one reward from my “daily” list of treats. At the end of each week, if I complete all my tasks I’ll choose a treat from my “weekly” list. After successfully completing my project, I’ll celebrate by spoiling myself with my ultimate prize. I will read my mission statement daily to remind me of the rewards I have planned, and my ultimate objective. If I miss any of my weekly targets without a very good excuse, my forfeit will be to stay completely offline for one whole day. If I miss my final deadline, my forfeit will be to stay completely offline for one whole month.”
Then date and sign it, to make it official.
I’ve given you a couple of ideas for rewards and forfeits. What will you put on your own list?