My Author Mission Statement, Or: A Man Can Dream, Can’t He?

I stole this idea about writing your Author Mission Statement from Michelle Proulx, who stole this from Joanne Phillps…You should steal this too.

I’ll reiterate what Michelle and Joanne have stated about mission statements: all great businesses have an ethos to which they’ll aspire to, one that states clearly their purpose as a professional entity. If Amazon and Google and General Electric and all other Fortune 500 companies have a mission statement, then why can’t writers? Writers are in a business: to entertain, to inform, to enthrall, and to keep customers coming back for more.

My mission statement isn’t quite as adventurous or ambitious as Michelle or Joanne’s, but I think it fits my ambitions pretty nicely:


I write because I am a writer. I write because my very existence depends on it. I write because there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing than write.


Yes, I’m giving myself permission to call myself a writer. And why shouldn’t I? I’m not a published writer as of yet, but that’s not to say that won’t happen. It will. It’s a matter of when, not if.

As I think more about my mission statement, I think about what being a writer can do for me, both personally and professionally. I think about the goals I want to set for myself as a writer, aside from the obvious goal of writing a novel/novella/short story collection, and seeing such published, whether it’s self, online, or via traditional print.

My goals (well, dreams, really) are somewhat humble, but allow me to share them with you, dear reader:

Earn a modest living as a writer – Of course, I would love to never have to work a 9-to-5 job again, but until I can earn a living as a writer making the same kind of money, I’ll have to keep my cube monkey status active. What I mean by earning a modest living is to earn the kind of money where I wouldn’t necessarily have to work a real job anymore. In other words, make enough money to keep me financially afloat, with a little wiggle room.

Teach a creative writing class – I’m of the belief that you can’t really teach creative writing, but you can bring out the creative writing gene in anyone. But, really, I want to do this solely because I’m needlessly romanticizing the notion of being a professor of Creative Writing. Honestly, I couldn’t care less where, whether it’s a local community college or the University of Wyoming or, dare I say it, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

I even have my Standard Uniform ready: tweed jacket with elbow patches (don’t laugh), a pair of well-worn Levi’s 501s, and a catchy t-shirt emblazoned with some silly/snarky/borderline offensive/revelatory comment.

And you’ll thank me later when I proudly produce a generation of writers not influenced by Stephanie Meyer or whatever the hell the name of that woman is that wrote those “Fifty Shades of Whatever” books.

Win an award – I sometimes fantasize about winning either the National Book Award or the Pulitzer Prize. Why not, right? But then again, I also fantasize about playing the center forward position for Manchester United, or sharing the stage with Springsteen. Neither will likely happen, but a man can dream, can he? But an award would be nice, merely for the sake of recognition. It’s one thing to earn praise from friends and acquaintances; it’s another thing to earn praise from strangers you’ll never meet, or meet once and never see again. Call me a bit screwy (go on), but the validation from perfect strangers regarding my work seems far more important to me.

As for that National Book Award, if I do win one, my first reaction would be, “Clearly, someone there’s made a massive mistake.”

Be interviewed by Terry Gross – Seriously. This would be a far greater accomplishment for me than any award or an appearance on the New York Times Bestseller List. I love Terry Gross. I love the sound of her voice; that warm, slightly high-pitched, jerky voice, especially when she’s lost in thought and trying to get her question asked in a way that never seems condescending or ill-thought.

The only downside to that interview would be my inability to keep myself from geeking out. I’m not kidding. I don’t think I would be able to contain myself and keep from gushing, on air, how much I love Fresh Air. I listen to the podcasts just about every night.

I would sound deranged, and that interview would go over as well as Terry’s interview with Bill O’Reilly. I’ll be sure to load up on Lithium that day, though…

Terry, if you’re reading this…INTERVIEW ME!


41 thoughts on “My Author Mission Statement, Or: A Man Can Dream, Can’t He?

  1. I share that dream of being interviewed by Terry Gross! I even have a fan (yeah, I’ve got one, anyway) who suggested it, claiming she thought my book was much better than many of those featured (so, she may not be a fully stable person. But she’s MY fan and she loves my book). Of course, I see myself in the interview becoming utterly inarticulate and sounding like an absolute idiot, then gushing about how much I love “Says You.”

  2. Your National Book Award reaction reminded me of Gob’s line from Arrested Development … give me a second to find it … ah yes, “I’ve made a huge mistake”. Okay, not pronoun-ly accurate, but still close 😀 Thanks for the shout-out, and love the mission statement!

  3. In one of my grad school writing workshops, we were assigned to write essay about why we write. I said that I wanted to be a bestselling author and make a living as a writer. Everyone laughed. I used to also dream about winning awards, but I wanted to be interviewed by Oprah and have my book featured in her book club. The other idea I had was to make a living as a Creative Writing instructor on a tenure track at a 4 year university. Now that I’m on disability, I don’t have those dreams anymore. For me, it’s a big enough dream to get just one book published in print by one of the NY publishing houses. Before that can even happen though, I have to finish writing that book. However, I do have one secret dream from my childhood that I don’t think I’ll ever let go, and that’s to write a short story good enough to be published in The New Yorker.

  4. As for my mission, it would be simply that I write to be a better person and bring something good to the world. And if someone, just one person, feels good or changed after reading something I wrote, then I would have made the world a better place.

  5. I’m very glad I’m not the only one with these dreams! I too have been laughed at for having them. Or even worse, people thought I was being narcissistic. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the best in your chosen career field. No one laughs at sports players when they say they want championship rings!
    Sorry, I started lecturing myself there.

    I’m going to try to write my own mission statement now.

    • To those who laugh at our dreams, I say, “THE BLOOD OF THE UNBELIEVERS SHALL FLOW ON THE STREETS!”

      Actually, I just say, “Pfft!”

      I’d love to see your own mission statement. Do it!

  6. Write on, Writer.

    I love Ray Bradbury’s advice including, “You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.”

    • Bradbury was the MAN when it came to advice. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever read any advice from a writer that proved to be more inspirational than Ray Bradbury’s. He lived for writing, and it showed.

  7. Wonderful mission statement, inspiring, and real. Let everyone know you are a writer! My boss knows that I like to write, and she recently told a group of student at the school I work at, “Marla is a writer!” I simply did a little curtsey in front of everyone. I know she was trying to embarress me, because I am not published or anything, but when I go home and think about it, it’s more than she has.

    It’s more than she has because it’s real. Sometimes, I think the reason people like to make fun of each other when they write or are expressive or creative is because they envy it. I think some people envy the fact that I don’t have to live in this world, that I am perfectly happy living in the clouds, and even if only my husband reads my work at the end of the manuscript, it still gives me someone to share that experience with.

    Congrats on your mission statement! And don’t anyone put you down because YOU ARE A WRITER!! <3(You're writing right now, right?)

    • It’s cool that your boss declared you a writer in front of a group of students where you work. Me, if I had a boss who’d do the same…oh, who am I kidding? I don’t. Never have, never will. I’m stuck in the kind of industry (IT) that doesn’t seem to appreciate creativity, unless you’ve designed a way to create wi-fi using a paper clip and some aluminum foil.

      • eek! I’m glad I am a librarian. It’s always nice to share stories like this. Sometimes, I have to kick myself in the butt for not being grateful. I spent a year of my life working in TV, but I can’t imagine IT, I am way too much of a hippie I guess. lol. keep strong friend!

  8. Pingback: The Mission Statement | yourmamasallwrite

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