Words have power, and the words you speak out loud about your values, motivations, and goals have the power to transform your dreams into reality. You will find a lot of information about having clear goals, but a personal manifesto takes this idea one step further. In this article, we will explore how to write a manifesto to power your life as a writer and as a way to live your life with purpose.
What is a manifesto?
To define what a manifesto is, let us first discuss what it is not. A manifesto is not a list of tasks to be accomplished by a certain time. Goals are part of the manifesto, but they are not the main course. A manifesto will lead to greater clarity in goals and focus on what you want to achieve.
A manifesto functions as a way to delve deep into your core values and motivations. It differs from a mission statement in that a mission statement focuses on tasks and things that you want to do. A manifesto forms the overarching theme of your business and life. To be effective in achieving your goals, those that tie into the manifesto are the most important and which ones might need to be dropped from your agenda.
You can find many examples out there of life manifestos, artistic manifestos, and career manifestos. The main function of the manifesto is to help you get clear about who you are and what you want to achieve. Missions and goals are the next steps in helping you achieve your manifesto. The manifesto can be seen as the top layer, and everything else underneath it provides support.
5 Steps to Writing a Manifesto
Now that you know what one is, let’s explore how to write a manifesto for yourself. Writing a manifesto is relatively easy from a technical standpoint, but it can also be one of the most challenging pieces of writing you can do. Writing a manifesto asks you to dig deep and get to know yourself better, and that can be the most challenging part.
1. Find Inspiration
The first part of writing a manifesto is to find inspiration. You can look to other people’s manifestos, including some famous ones, to get an idea. Simply copying someone else’s manifesto will not do because a manifesto is a reflection of your beliefs and defines you as an individual.
The next step is to write down what you believe. This can mean asking yourself some difficult questions. One question you might want to begin with is, What do you or your group want to leave as a legacy? What gives your life meaning and purpose? Other questions might include, What do you want to accomplish in your life, What actions are aligned with these values, and What are you willing to do to achieve them?
3. Write a Draft
Once you have your ideas on paper, you can then write the formal draft. When it comes to formatting a manifesto, the most common form is a list of points, but you can use paragraphs and go into further explanation if it is needed. The idea is to keep it simple and not end up with a long laundry list of things that you will never be able to accomplish in three lifetimes. One of the best pieces of advice is to keep it to three to five items at the most, but within these items can be micro-goals and things that you want to accomplish. Remember, this is a rough draft, and you will edit it later.
4. Let it Simmer
The next thing you need to do is to let it sit. Put it away, and don’t touch it for some time. This probably needs to be more than 24 hours so that the next time you read it, it will be fresh. This will allow you to do a critical evaluation of what you wrote and refine it. One thing to keep in mind is that a life manifesto is a living document, and you should plan to review it from time to time and see if it still fits with who you are.
5. Put It Into Action
A manifesto is just a bunch of words unless you do something with it. The first thing you should do is frame it and put it above your desk or any place where you will read it every single day before you start your workday. Begin each day by reading the manifesto, and think about how you will work to achieve those goals during your day. Journaling is an excellent addition to your manifesto because you can see the progress that you have made, evaluate ways you can improve, and accomplish what you set out to achieve.
One way to get ideas is to explore the works of famous manifesto writers throughout history. Here are a few that you might want to consider.
1. Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is perhaps one of the most famous manifestos, but you probably never thought of it that way. It sets forth the vision for the new nation in an eloquent way that we all recognize.
2. Martin Luther King’s Speech
Martin Luther King’s famous speech that begins with the words, “I have a dream,” is an excellent example of a manifesto. One way to start your manifesto is to use this famous line as a prompt. What is your dream?
3. Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s famous quotes and his manifesto, “Art Matters” is a call to action. It demonstrates how reading, writing, imagining, and the act of creating can change the world. How do you want to change the world, and What impact do you want to make?
4. Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright gives an example an architectural manifesto for his apprentices that formed the guiding principles for their design projects. It is an excellent example of how a manifesto can be used to guide a business, organization, or artistic endeavor.
5. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin’s famous “13 Virtues” is an excellent example of a personal manifesto. If you read biographies of him, you can see a living example of how he put these principles into practice every day. These virtues are ones that we can all use as an example for our own lives.
Now that you know how to write a manifesto, the next thing you need to do is to get started. You can make your manifesto as simple or as eloquent as you wish. The main thing to keep in mind is to have fun with it and to take your time. Your manifesto is a roadmap that will help you find purpose and meaning behind what you do in life, and this alone is a fulfilling journey.