I love to write. Whether it’s fiction, music, or this blog, there is something immensely fulilling about taking the time in a solitary fashion to put my thoughts in order and communicate something to the world.
But so what?
A few months ago I discovered a podcast called Write Now made by a lovely person named Sarah Werner. In addition to having a soothing voice and a very encouraging demeanor, she offers great insights and tips on how to get the most of your writing and, as she puts it, write every day.
A recent podcast involves creating your mission statement. Sarah does a great job of explaining why this is important to writers, and it got me focused on some things that had been bouncing around in my head, but I never really thought about in a coherent way.
Why do I bother writing? What’s the goal? I know goals are for losers (I hear you, Scott Adams) but there are still milestones to be hit along the path.
I touched a little bit on this on my post called “Find Your ‘Why,’” writing about how I enjoy communicating with other people, regardless of the medium. There’s something about the connection, both giving and receiving, that I find wonderfully satisfying.
A lot of times we don’t lose our drive, we lose an object to point it towards.
For me, it was music. I didn’t just get off on the performance aspect. I loved communicating with other people on a level that was both primal and spiritual.
Take the man away from the music. That desire remains. The desire to communicate.
What I had to do was find another way to communicate with people.
But what’s my mission statement? What do I really hope to get out of all of these endeavors, including my writing? I had never really thought about it.
I’m not going to go through the whole process here because I’d rather you listen to Sarah describe it, but after consideration here’s some things I’ve discovered about my own motivations.
Entertain. I like to entertain. I was always a bit of a class clown, and I’m always the one cracking jokes about everything, sometimes too often. It was also why I enjoyed jumping around on stage like a maniac. Maybe it’s narcissistic, but I really get a charge out of the fact that anything I do could affect somebody’s mood or even their life in a positive way.
Convey knowledge. I turned 35 a month ago, which is a pretty big age; supposedly, that’s when a person really gains some kind of wisdom and understanding of life. It’s probably just an arbitrary number, because the ancients didn’t often live past 50, but I think the idea still resonates in 2016. I don’t always hit the mark, and I sometimes come across like a pompous jackass, but there comes a time in everyone’s life where they’re concerned about their legacy, their children, the rest of their family, and to society at large.
There’s a mistake in thinking that you owe everybody everything, but there’s also a mistake in thinking that you don’t owe anybody anything.
Like it or not, we’re all interconnected, and I’d rather have my life the one that had a positive impact on the world, even if it’s just a very tiny corner of it.
Generally, my goal here is to use my life as a cautionary tale: Don’t do what I did!
Change perceptions. This is a big one for me. Some of this informed by the fact that I grew up a relatively conservative Christian in New England, a region of the country that is pretty hostile to small government-minded people and traditional Christians.
Regarding religion, there is so much misinformation and out right lies about Christianity and Christians, the nature of the Trinity and the Gospes, that I feel compelled to dispel. This isn’t a religion blog, and I don’t think I’m overtly religious or exclusionary, but it’s such an important part of my life that it’s impossible to divorce it from all the other stuff I do. I’m not trying to convert anybody (but if you want to visit a Greek Orthodox Church to see what it’s all about, that’s great!) but I would just like to change contemporary American’s perceptions about what it is us Christians do and believe.
Politics, too. I find nothing wrong about talking politics–I even wrote a whole post about this. People don’t have to agree with me, but I would just like them to understand the positions that I am people like me have, and realize that we might have more in common than you think. Again, this is informed by the fact that I grew up in an area steeped in liberalism, around people who never even spoken to a conservative, and where people on the right side of things just keep their mouth shut for fear of being ostracized, or worse.
And lastly, I’m not going to lie, I don’t mind trying to change people’s perceptions of men, masculinity, and fatherhood. We’re portrayed as dopes, monsters, or both. Which of course, as with most things, is an example of ridiculous extremism.
Writing is a way for me to convey these things. Thanks to Sarah and her awesome podcast for getting me thinking about my own mission.
What are some of the things that you view as your own personal mission statement?
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