I used to hate writing about love.
My young, naive brain really only saw love as something romantic – unconditional love, the love felt between family and close friends, was at that point just something I felt would always be there no matter what. It was important to me, but not nearly as important as it is to my much (okay, slightly) older self.
That was before I started adulting, and we all know what happens then: we realize, possibly for the first time, that the world is not always nice, and people are not always kind, that there are days no one hugs you or says they love you and you get used to that in a weird, numbing way.
You never forget that you are loved. You just stop expecting to hear, see or feel it quite as often. It’s not as dark as it sounds, at least I hope not.
At some point along my transition into young adulthood I learned that you can write about love without writing a romance novel. This was after I had written three of them and vowed never to write another (I haven’t since). I started writing more about friendship, and families, and all these relationships in which love doesn’t have to mean the kind of intimacy and affection Nicholas Sparks is so fond of (yes, I’ve read all those books, I’m not sorry though).
I think sometimes we forget that caring about other people is, in its own way, still love. I also think, as writers, we forget that we have a ‘superpower’ non-writers lack: the power to say something meaningful, something many people will never forget, by telling a story.
What better way to promote love, as a writer – love of all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, etc. – than to write stories about love? About kindness, about overcoming hardship by caring for and standing with the people around us?
I am not going to get preachy here, I promise. But I was raised in a home and in a church where love was the primary focus of everything. A lot of people who claim to believe the same things I believe completely miss out on the most important message of Christianity: love. I do not write stories that would be classified as Christian fiction (anymore), but that does not mean related themes don’t appear in everything I write. Especially while writing my novellas this year, I’ve realized that I write about love every day. Just not the way I used to.
You may not have grown up in the environment I did – most people didn’t – but I hope that, using the power of words, you will be able to do whatever you can to spread positivity and acceptance through your stories. It is what I have, unofficially, vowed to do in mine. I teach people about writing, I remind people why they’re important (or try to), but I also want everyone that stumbles upon this blog to feel welcome and accepted and like they belong. That is, once again, why I love reading all your comments so much. Because, 95% of the time, they are positive. They never aim to hurt or criticize or knock anyone else down. And for that, especially lately, I thank you. That makes this community different, in a good way.
Today I’m thinking about love. For many reasons, I suppose. It has occurred to me lately that even in tragedy there are still plenty of selfish, unkind people out there who seek to blame and shun and yell their opinions for the sake of making a statement. I do not do that here. I use words as weapons of kindness, and I don’t even care how cliche that phrase is. I mean it. That is the only way to push back those who cannot love. Just by being a loving and kind presence.
Maybe the things I say don’t always make sense and most of the time no one really pays attention, but I hope you will today. Your words can make the world a better, more loving place, even if you feel small and that your voice does not matter. For every positive message that is sent, there is a little bit more love out there, and that’s better than nothing.
Use your superpowers for good. Dare to tell the stories no one else will tell, in the way you think they need to be told. There will always be negativity and hatred, that will not change. But the more love we spread, the harder it will be to hear those hateful people screaming that they’re right.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
Image courtesy of Flickr.