Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Turning mountains into a mission statement of sorts


Two of my favorite walking trails were closed after the week of non-stop rain in California before Christmas. The lake route reopened as soon as flood waters ran downstream, but the small mountain trail is still barricaded.
Um. Yeah. So I went around the caution tape like some other intrepid hikers and found out why.
Most of the trail is clear. But there are areas where erosion underneath the path may cause collapse and then there is this. Whew, that's a big boulder.
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No wonder it's still closed.

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But I'm glad I ventured up, and you know I'll go again. . .
Because . . .
This is what I get for a treat when I do. . .

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Climbing mountains rewards me with gorgeous vistas, a sense of accomplishment, a stronger body and a mind that becomes free of trivia.
I've done a lot of writing in my head while walking. But I haven't thought of it as a mission. Until now.
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I'm not a Mission Statement kind of person. Too many years of corporate-speak, I guess. But when Susan Kaye Quinn posted her Mission Statement as a writer recently she got my attention. It makes sense to develop self-awareness, to know what we want from all this effort we expend writing. What purpose does it serve in our lives?
Susan is an engineer, and I always struggled with higher math, physics, that sort of thing. My talents, I think, are more in the art realm. So instead of calling what I've written a Mission Statement, I'll refer to it as my life-goal as a writer. Here's what works for me, but, please, also read Susan's, which was my model.
To use my life experiences and background in creative non-fiction, poetry and fiction to write stories that reach beyond the day-to-day into the land of possibilities. To interact with other writers and editors to constantly improve my craft. To be supportive and helpful to others. To reach as many readers and impact as many lives as possible without allowing numbers of any kind to define me or my work. To always leave my readers with hope.

30 comments:

Natalie said...

You've left this reader with hope. Happy 2011, Tricia.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Beautiful! I loved Susan's post, too. I might have to give a mission statement a shot. :-)

Laurel Garver said...

Wonderful statement! I especially resonated with not allowing numbers to "define me or my work." Amen!

Yvonne Osborne said...

You are very brave to venture around the caution tape. But one would expect no less from a writer! I've never thought to compose a mission statement. Thanks for the suggestion. (I would just second yours!)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Natalie: Oh, that feels good. :D

Shannon: I'm glad I did. I'm reluctant to do things like that, but it was an eye-opener.

Laurel: We live in a world that loves to chart things. I realize I don't want to create while thinking of how I measure up. Only how I measure in touching other people.

Yvonne: I'm a strange mix of brave and cautious, but my curiosity usually wins out. Glad you're joining me on the mission. :)

Amparo Ortiz said...

Awesome! Let's go conquer 2011 together, missy. We can do it. Well, you more than me :D

Great post!

Angela Ackerman said...

You got it, woman! I think that's a great statement--one we should all follow!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Julie said...

Gorgeous post! Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring me to do a little thinking. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

That's an excellent mission statement!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Amparo: Yay! Watch out 2011!

Angela: Thanks, my friend. Let's do this thing.

Julie: I'm so glad to spread the inspiration (which began with Susan) :)

GoldenEagle: Thank you!

Jemi Fraser said...

That's beautiful! I think you do this - your blog, your pictures, your words combine to make me happy each and every time I visit :)

Paul C said...

This hiking trail looks most exhilarating and scenic. I also really like the idea of a mission statement to clarify one's personal and professional goals. This seems the perfect time to complete one.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Tricia, it's awesome! I can feel the artistry in your statement, and I'm so glad you ventured out, past the caution tape, and gave the mission statement a go. I would love to read your "land of possibilities" sometime! :)

Suzanne Casamento said...

Beautiful Life-Goal.

And beautiful hiking path. Except for the giant boulder. Love that you went anyway. ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jemi!!! Thank you. That's a reward in itself.

PaulC: It is a wonderful trail to have smack-dab in the middle of a city. And clarify is good word to describe writing a mission statement. I'm glad I did it.

Susan: Oooooooo, thank you for saying that. I'm thrilled. Yes, it's good to venture out.

Suzanne: I love that I went anyway and that I wrote my life-goals, too. All around good start to 2011.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

What a great life goal. And way to keep climbing that mountain! Happy 2011 to you.

Wen Baragrey said...

Wow. That is one monster rock! You wouldn't want to be standing on that path when it came rolling down.

That is an awesome mission statement. I've never even thought of doing that.

Donna said...

Yes, I'm left with "hope" since you wisely you it as your fine last word. You already meet a whole lot of those goals ...

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen: Gotta keep climbing, right? We'll do just fine in 2011. I believe.

Wen: I know! That whole mountain is covered in monster rocks you wouldn't want to get caught under.

I never thought of doing a mission statement, either, but it was great to do.

Donna: I'm so glad I'm wise some of the time, anyway. :D

storyqueen said...

"Without allowing numbers of any kind define me or my work."

Yeah.

What she said.

:)

VR Barkowski said...

I never thought of writing a mission statement either, in fact it's a bit intimidating, but both yours and Susan's inspire.

MG Higgins said...

Beautiful, Tricia! I've participated in a couple of "mission statement" writing projects at places where I've worked. They were tedious assignments and hard to start, but satisfying once completed. Never thought about it for writing--it's a great idea.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: And here's hoping I can live by that! ;)

Viva: Thank you. It's strange how a nudge from a friend can get you a few more steps up the mountain...

Mel: I think a lot of mission statements are tedious, but maybe ours can take a different path. :D

Sarah Laurence said...

Happy New Year! What a gorgeous place to hike, despite the erosion. Here's to hope.

cleemckenzie said...

I love books that leave me with hope. I look forward to finding that in your books.

Anonymous said...

What a great mission statement! So well said. LynNerd

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

SarahL: Happy 2011 to you, too. Hope is all we need. ;)

Lee: Aw, thank you. Now I feel all hopeful. *grins*

Lynn: I'm so glad you stopped by and thanks!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Wow! Love this concept. And well said! (also think it's great you write non fiction. Me too!)
And no wonder this is one of your favourite hiking trails. Beautiful!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Terry: Thank you, my friend.

Mary Anne Gruen said...

Mountaintops always have the best views! I completely understand your taking the risk.

My mission statement is pretty simplistic. To use as many of my talents as I can. In the way that makes the most sense. And to gain wisdom along the way.