You write because you have something to say. Your writing needs the flavor and character that only you can give. How do you achieve a distinctive touch and flavor for your writing?
The guiding principle is focus and the starting point is to know the essential focal points that save time and agonizing self-examination. I show writers how to corral annoying parts of a writing project and gain focus. I do this through emphasizing the importance to the writer of knowing and using mission, goals, audience, and category information.
Knowing general mission, goals, audience, and category information is essential to every writer and to every writing project’s spine and core: focus. The use of outstanding general and specific project mission, goals, audience, category (or genre) statements sharpens focus, which makes writing better.
Here is a simple exercise that pays off:
Write down or type a statement of your general writing mission; start with any number of words to express your writing vision and interests; finally, pare that narrative to a concise statement: 14 words or less. This forces the elimination of unnecessary or flowery language and highlights a central idea or focus.
Use that process to write a mission statement for every writing project. You will see how it helps your goals, audience, and genre statements-the general one and project-specific ones. Hold onto the final versions, keeping the 14-word mission in mind each time.
Most writers do not think of their writing beyond the writing process and a mental picture of the finished work in print. However, you want to have basic elements in place before and while you work and improve your writing.
After writing project mission, goals, audience, and genre statements, examine them for agreement with each other. They need to inter-relate well and mutually serve the focus.
Keep your general and project mission statements within that special number 14. As you get better at it, you will find the exercise spills over into other writing areas, with good results.
This process is good for marketing by you, to editors or beyond, and by others. At all times, think about how you will tell anyone (potential audience), briefly, what your general work as a writer is about, or a specific writing project (mission). Be ready to include why your subject and your slant on it are important.
Get your focus and stay with it every time you write!