What are your core values?
July 4th brings to light values we as Americans hold dear: Truth, Justice, Freedom, and the American Way. It is an appropriate time to exam our individual core values as writers.
A young woman reading Designinga Business Plan for Your Writing reached the point in the book where she was ready to draft her mission and vision statement. There was one glitch. She wasn’t sure she knew exactly what I meant by “core values” or if she had any core values to identify. Instead of throwing her hands up in despair, she contacted me.
I love it. A person who wants to learn and grow asks questions. The act of asking shows me she is a willing student of the craft of writing. Our online discussion led me to address the issue of core values in this post.
Hopefully, this will help other writers on their quest to publish.
First, let’s take a look at the context. Here is an excerpt from the book:
“Let’s look first at the mission statement. I looked up the word mission in my online dictionary. The business dictionary speaks to “core purpose” or “intended direction.” I also found synonyms such as “commission,” “undertaking,” or “quest.” My favorite definition is the one I found on dictionary.com. It reads, “An important goal or purpose accompanied by strong conviction.” Yep, that’s what we need.” (Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Rebecca Waters, 2017)
Your core values define that purpose and strong conviction you hold near and dear to your heart. Your core values delineate those lines you will not cross –even to win a contract with a publisher.
Core values serve as a guide for your actions. In the corporate world, they keep a company on track to meet their goals and fulfill their mission. In the writing world, they act as a guide for producing the quality of work the author expects of himself or herself.
Here is an example from my own writing life.
I hold a strong conviction to not read or write anything that goes against biblical teachings. Therefore, I will not read a book that has erotic sexual content or exalts practices such as witchcraft or satanic worship. Yes, those acts are real and alive in the world, but they defy the life God has outlined in the Bible for me to live. Though I have writer friends who embrace all that sort of content, from my perspective I become what I read…and write…so erotica and witchcraft and the like are off limits for me.
Biblical principles shape my core values. For other writer friends, a cause is at the heart of their writing. I have a friend whose mission is to make people aware of child abuse. I can’t write about children being abused. It is beyond my imagination and sickens me to think about. But bringing the issue to the forefront is part of her mission. She uses her writing to make people aware and effect change. At her core is a cause. A conviction.
Allow me this one last example from one of the best storytellers and oral historians I ever knew –my maternal grandmother. My sweet grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. In her final years she couldn’t remember names or string together meaningful sentences in a conversation. But if you started to sing one of the old hymns she would join in and not miss a word. If you started to pray with her, she would pray with you without missing a beat. Alzheimer’s messed with her mind, but could not shake her core. At the core of who she was, at the very center of her life, was her faith.
What are your core values? What is unshakeable in your life? You don’t have to share those here, but if you do, it could be an interesting discussion. At the very least, spend some time thinking about what is at your core. What do you hold near and dear to your heart? What shapes your writing?
Do you see yourself as a writer? Is your dream to publish? Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing helps you create a map you can follow to make your dream come true. The examples, reflective assignments, and challenges walk each reader through the process of constructing a thoughtful and achievable plan. While the handbook offers examples of structure, it is in no way formulaic. The plan you design to be a published author is customized to fit your personality traits, your specific gifts, and your busy life.
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