Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Applying Business Principles & Practices to your Writing Life Series: Vision Statement

Post # 1 in series: Vision Statement

The Business Side:

The Wikipedia definition of vision statement is: A vision statement plays a key role in an organization. The goal of a vision statement is to clearly articulate an aspirational statement about what the company wants to be longer term.

There are various views on how long a vision statement should be, and how far it should look into the future. Generally, the statement is meant to span years and would only be revisited quarterly or annually. Developing a vision statement should take some time, and as a result, you may want to revisit it more frequently when you first create it, and tweak it as needed.

Vision statements are meant to align an organization. These high level statements can help employees make difficult decisions, by simply referring back to the company's vision statement and asking: how does this option align with our companies vision?

In some organizations visions are cascaded down. There is an overall company vision, and then each area creates their own vision to align with the company's overall vision.

Applying this Principle to your Writing Life:

One of the biggest gains a writer can attain by creating their own vision statement is "focus". Once you know where your writing energy is to be focused, then you will know whether or not to spend time on a given project. A well defined vision statement that takes into account your values (we'll be discussing this in a later post), can basically act as a filter in determining which projects to take on, and how much time you should allot to them. A vision statement can be related to a priority list in some ways. If a certain challenge doesn't in some way fit into an element in your vision statement, then you need to either adjust your vision statement, or confidently decline working on the project.

Some steps you might want to go through to create your Initial Writer's Vision Statement:
  1. Consider all that you do right now that is writing related. Take a few minutes to run through your daily, weekly, monthly tasks, and list all that could fall under your writing umbrella.
  2. Now, ask yourself why you do each of those items that you listed under your writing umbrella.
  3. Analysing your reasons, consider if it is worthwhile to continue? (Keep your values and morals in mind here. Not everything worthwhile that you do will necessarily be for personal or financial gain, and yet still, it may be important and something you feel called to do.) If you can justify doing something to your satisfaction, then you'll want to include it somehow in your vision statement. If you can't justify it, then resolve to stop wasting your time on it. Perhaps it's to be taken up in another season of your life, just not in this one. Create your actions list (what you want included in your vision) according to your findings.
  4. Now, is there something you've been WANTING to do, FELT CALLED to do right now, or in the near future, but just haven't felt you had the time to incorporate into your life? If so, go over # 2, and # 3 above for it, and discern whether or not it should be included in your action list for defining your vision statement. This may be where you look longer term, what you aspire to do. If it's something you feel strongly about, then you'll want to add it to your vision statement to help you start setting the plan in motion.
  5. With your action list available, and everything justified in your mind and heart, go to creating a writer's vision that encompasses all the items on your action list in a generic, yet definitive way.

As an example, here is my vision statement.

"To share inspirational stories in a published format, support and promote fellow writers, continue to learn and grow as a writer and in faith, and to share personal reflections and knowledge that I've gained along the way, all in a Christian perspective."

You'll notice that the wording is sufficiently generic enough that I can fit many of my projects that I hold dear to me under each high-level concept, but it also gives me a clear perspective of what I want to spend my time on under my writing umbrella.

Now it's your turn. Try your hand at writing a vision statement for your writing life. We'd love to read yours, so feel free to paste it into the comment section. Next Monday we'll be coming back to this series to discuss Values.


Phil and Eileen

1 comment:

Georgiana said...

This is fantastic. I especially like the fact that you can hold up your to-do list to your vision statement to determine if the time spent is worth it. Great stuff! OK, now you have my wheels turning.