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Write On 2017! – Your Vision

Every Monday I volunteer at a house of hospitality for pregnant and newly parenting women. Essentially, it’s a homeless shelter. Many of our moms have no family support or are newly released from jail or battling addiction.

One of the first things our moms do once they arrive at the house is put together a vision board. On this vision board they place words and images of what they want in their futures. For most of these women, this is the first time they’ve done “vision” work. Their reality: it’s hard to think about the future when you’re looking for your next meal or fix.

I love listening to our moms talk about the things on their vision boards, everything from graduation caps to shiny new baby cribs to words like SOBRIETY in giant letters. I love to see the looks on their faces as they picture a better life for them and their sweet little newborn babies. I feel their anxiety, excitement, and, above all, hope.

Visions are powerful tools.

Today in our Write On 2017! series, we’re going to talk about visions and how you can craft and use a vision to motivate you and guide your writing career.  Simply put, a vision defines the desired or intended future state of your business. Remember when we talked last week about missions? Missions INSPIRE; visions are what you ASPIRE to.

What makes a great vision? Visions are short, no more than a couple of sentences. They clearly outline your overall future aspirations without providing details of how those aspirations will be reached. And unlike missions, visions will and should change as you reach new milestones or change direction.

Some big-biz examples:

  • The earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online. (Amazon)
  • We will be the model for high quality journalism in the 21st century, strengthening the cultural, civic and social fabric of our democracy. (NPR)
  • The world’s beer company. Through all of our products, services and relationships, we will add to life’s enjoyment. (ANHEUSER-BUSCH)

Your Assignment: Craft your vision statement.

Time to have some fun with this one. Get yourself in a quiet, thoughtful state of mind. When I give this workshop in person, I’ll turn off the lights and let the room settle into a nice, peaceful silence. Ready?

  1. Close your eyes and envision your writing career FIVE years from now. What are you writing? Who is surrounding you? What is your financial situation? What is your state of mind? How is your health? Your spirits?
  2. Close your eyes and envision your writing career TEN years from now. Has anything changed? (It’s okay if it changes…or not. My goal is to help you deepen your thought process.)
  3. Now write “I am _____________________” and fill in the blank. Don’t worry if you need two or three sentences to list your aspirations. Once you get the thoughts down, you can narrow your focus. Or not. 🙂

Here’s my vision: I am a best-selling author who creates compelling stories that touch the hearts of my dedicated readers. A bit simple and not-too-sexy, but right now that’s how I visualize my future. Likewise, your vision must be you; it must come from a deep and true place. 

Feel free to post the above exercise and/or your vision in the comment section below. Write on!

This is Part 3 of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s series, Write On 2017! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting and Time Management. Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Image via Wiki Commons By Evan-Amos – Own work, Public Domain.

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of mysteries, romantic thrillers, and novels for teens. Her debut thriller was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, and her other novels have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Paperback Original of the Year from the International Thriller Writers, and a Kirkus Recommended Read. A former magazine editor and restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at www.shelleycoriell.com and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

13 responses to “Write On 2017! – Your Vision”

  1. I just added the links to the previous Write On 2017 posts for those of you who requested them. 🙂

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  2. Susan says:

    Vision is so important to this process!!

    “The Entertainer”

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  3. Elizabeth Langston says:

    I’ve been pondering my mission statement for the past week and have decided it is something like “Write stories that readers can count on for being beautifully-written and having hopefully/happily ever afters.”

    Now for my vision:

    5-year: I am writing stories that I love and that pays for my traveling and reading habits. 🙂

    10-year: I am retired. I am *not* on social media anymore.

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    • What a thoughtful, reader-centric mission, Beth. Thanks for including it, as it’s a great contrast to your vision. And I’m officially envious of all that free time and energy you’ll have without the tug of social media. Onward!

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  4. Vivi Andrews says:

    This is incredible, Shelley. Thank you for this series and this post.

    My vision? I am a best-selling author who is able to comfortably support herself with only her writing and has the freedom to write as many stories as I am passionate about. God, wouldn’t that be great?

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  5. Rita Henuber says:

    Sorry to be late. In recent months I’ve allowed my vison to become foggy. My vision is to turn each story idea in a book. Sell many books.

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    • You’re not alone, Rita, in struggling with the fog. That’s why most writers can benefit from a clear and thoughtful vision. A written vision is like a lighthouse beacon, refocusing our sights on what we aspire to. Onward!

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  6. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Thought about this for a couple of days…now to print it out and keep my vision in my visual field!

    I am sure that you are probable hearing me say that this is my “first rodeo” be it in the chatroom or in a post. But it ‘tis true. That said, I’ll try to answer all of the questions. Initially, I was only going to answer question #3.

    #1:
    • I don’t know what I will be writing five years from now. I just know that I want to be writing. I would like to think that I am writing suspense or mystery novels but have yet to find my true genre.
    • I see my family and friends in close proximity though not necessarily in the same space or town even.
    • Financial situation…I expect to be comfortable. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to be a huge success by that time and more than comfortably well-off!
    • My state of mind…stable, creative and productive.
    • Health…based on current assessment – great!
    • Spirits…I expect them to be good, even great, as well.

    #2:
    From my current perspective, I cannot see my “five-year vision” differing much from the “ten-year vision” but hope that my writing/writings would evolve as I evolve and that I will be resting on my laurels – *wink*

    #3:
    I am going to find my niche, pursue my long-time dream of becoming a published writer and write in line with my current mission statement: My mission is to write as if I am the reader.

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    • Cynthia Huscroft says:

      Goodness, thought I had proof read better! Second para should read “probably tired of hearing” – *sigh*

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    • Thanks for sharing, Cynthia! This is a lovely vision and a perfect example of why visions might change. Right now you’re all about finding your niche and pursuing a dream of becoming a published writer. Once you achieve these, you’ll pen a new vision.

      I read somewhere once where Nike’s vision is to “Be the number one athletic company in the world”, but in the 1960s, the Nike vision was something like, Crush Adidas.

      Indeed, visions can and should change. 🙂

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  7. […] On 2017! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting and Time Management. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Photo: CC Image courtesy of Ken Teegardin on […]

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