One of the two classes I’m taking right now to finish my master’s degree is on organization management, specifically nonprofits. One of the things we’ve been discussing in the last few classes is mission and vision, and how that drives everything an organization does and how they do it – at least, if that mission and vision are done right.
The definitions we were given is that vision is the what and mission is the how. In other words, if your vision is to become an award winning YA author, your mission is to write excellent books about teenage characters – and the more specific you can be the better, so if you know what prize you want to win, you might write a certain type of book, etc.
This got me thinking about what my mission and vision would be. I was amazed at how hard – and scary – it was to articulate these ideas. I’ve always known I want to “be a great writer” but what does that mean? What do I want to achieve, and how? Some of it is challenging because much of publishing business is out of our hands, and some of it is challenging because we’ve often been told not to quantify our achievements. We’ve been told that we should write what we want to write and if there’s no market for it, and no one ever appreciates it, it’s okay because we can sit back and be proud. And this is true to an extent – never write something you don’t love and believe in. It’s not fair to the readers, or to you. But it is okay, even healthy, to make some goals and set some achievements for yourself. Maybe you want to make your entire living off writing. Maybe you want to make enough to buy something, or to go back to school, or you want to sell five books, or aim for that award. But what is your goal? And how are you going to get there?
Mission and Vision, done right, direct a business and provide healthy boundaries for conducting transactions and building relationships. A mission and vision for your writing can do the same.
What’s your vision?