I’ve been reading the inspirational and motivational Jeff Goins again lately. Boy, did I need to. I’d got totally off track doing the blogging challenge (because I cannot resist a challenge) and forgotten what my writing is really about. Jeff says you should write a manifesto stating your goals and promises.
At first, I couldn’t work this out. My goal isn’t to help people write books (although I love doing that) or produce great blog content (though I like doing that too).
That’s when I twigged. No wonder I’ve been feeling so weird lately. I’ve been beavering away towards a thing which is not my goal. It’s helping me in various ways but not with my main thing, the thing I know I can promise people.
So, I thought, what is my promise? What can I guarantee to do, or try my hardest to deliver, every time?
My manifesto is not about helping people write books. This may be where my website is proving a distraction more than a useful tool. Good practice, but not achieving anything towards my goal.
I thought about it. And I wrote it down. And in less than five minutes I had a rough manifesto that matches with what I do and where I want to be. It was easy. I didn’t have to dig too deep to know this thing – after all, I’ve been thinking about it all my life. And it is a promise to myself, as much as to my readers.
Here it is:
- My manifesto is to write stories that make people feel good. That’s it. Easy to think up, easy to write down.
- I promise a happy ending every time. Not always totally happy – maybe there will be bittersweet sacrifice or poignant absence. But everyone you’ve been rooting for through the book will get their thing. Usually, that thing will be love, but it might be something more material like the object of their quest.
- I promise that my characters will be humorous. I can’t help it anyway.
- I promise that my stories will make readers go Oh, that’s so true when I make observations about life.
- I promise that my characters will be distinct and different from each other.
- I promise to make every book an easy read, the kind of book you save up for when you need escape, relaxation, a real treat. I promise not to create deliberately difficult work that you need to brace yourself for.
- I promise to entertain.
- I promise to write regularly so readers will always have something new to look forward to.
- I promise to finish stuff.
- I promise to engage with my readers. I love to hear what people think of my stories and I love talking to people. I don’t need an air of mystery.
- I promise to have fun doing it. Otherwise, what’s the point?