My mission for 2019 is to bring excellent stories into the world.
Some might be wondering, “Why is that a mission? Why not a resolution or a goal for the year, like everybody else does?” This is a “mission” in the sense of a “mission statement;” not the quantifiable action-goal or measurable result we all got suckered into tailoring our dreams to in the 2000’s. My mission is not to “send out (X) stories each week,” etc. I may choose to write some action steps that read like that, but that’s not the mission.
A mission statement is a short statement of purpose, usually an organization’s purpose. It should be aspirational and inspirational. Honest Tea’s mission, for example, is “to create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.” Ikea’s is, “To create a better everyday life for the many people,” which is kind of stripped-down, like Ikea itself. I am disappointed to note that the Ikea mission statement does not include a mention of meatballs. Would it have been so difficult to write, “To create a better everyday life for the many people, with meatballs?”
The preceding paragraph might make it sound like I meditated, contemplated, read up on mission statements, reflected on my life, my talents, my passions and carefully crafted a statement that sums all that up. Um, yeah. Right. That’s just what I did, except for that part where I wrote a bantering tweet to someone which said, “Well, my mission is to help bring excellent stories into the world.” And I thought, “Oh, wait. That is my mission.”
Excellent stories do not have to be mine. I might help bring excellent stories into the world through critique and acting as a “first reader.” I might also “bring them into the world” by review, or by a signal boost on Twitter and other social media; or by dragging friends by the hand to the book’s spot on the bookstore shelf and pointing to the book. In light of the Feast of Epiphany, which is something in the nature of a presentation, bringing something into the world can mean more than birthing it or even midwifing it. It can mean introducing it to the world.
Of course a large part of the mission means producing excellent stories myself. And, since I just committed to it in the paragraph above, it means more than getting a close-to-finished draft done and then saying, “Well, there. It exists in the world.” It means bringing stories forward to be introduced and presented. And that means sending them out or seeing them available to readers in some fashion.
The mission will have goals and an action plan, more like the conventional New Year’s “I’ll get more exercise, cut back on refined sugar and eat healthily in 2019,” except that I hope mine will last longer than those do. And it will start tomorrow, except I could fudge and say that I already started because I sent out a story right at the first of the year. I’m counting that.
So that’s my mission.