There are things we do not discuss on this blog. I do my very best to keep it within its intended boundaries. If you are here, it is because you are a writer hoping to make a difference with your words.
Right now, the aching and hunger for change in our world spans far beyond what words can describe. But as I just wrote, you are probably reading this blog because words matter to you, and you want the words you write to matter to other people.
Now is the time to remember that your words have power.
It may start with the words you write only for your eyes. But it can expand further. If you want it to.
There are probably writers reading this right now who, like me, process what’s going on around them — and the feelings they associate with those things — through writing. When the world starts burning, I get very quiet. Not just because I’m listening, but because the words often get mixed up in my head and I don’t always say the right thing in the moment.
So it’s become a custom, in times such as these, for me to retreat to my own space and let my thoughts and feelings float around for a short time before I start writing it all down.
When my emotions do start to pour out, the medium through which I channel them varies on purpose. Sometimes I write music. Other times I write stories. And sometimes, when I really feel I need to say something and can’t stay silent about it any longer, I write a blog post.
The beautiful aspect of human emotion is that it is universal. Even if we don’t all share the same experiences or fully understand each others’ perspectives, we have the ability to empathize with each other — if we choose to; though why anyone would choose not to, I struggle to comprehend — because we understand what it’s like to experience specific emotions.
We have the ability to understand that someone is grieving and what that feels like because, in some way or another — though almost never in the exact same way, we, too, have grieved.
And that’s why writers, in the darkest of times, are an essential piece of the narrative. We ourselves may not “get it” to the extent of someone who is on the front lines, so to speak, living it. But we can help ourselves, and each other, to understand to the best of our ability through writing about different perspectives through a specific lens.
Writing is a form of communication first and foremost; we seek to understand, so that we can cooperate. So that we can help, if possible.
A writer has a unique relationship with words. They can express thoughts with the kind of clarity, intrigue, or sense of urgency that gets people’s attention.
But there are some people who don’t have the connection with words that you have. So when you write how you are feeling and package it into something accessible to a wide audience, and it speaks to the heart of a reader — when it echoes their emotions and thoughts almost perfectly — they won’t just appreciate it. Chances are, they will share it.
They will share it because it’s what they wish they could have said; how they wish they could have said it.
This is not about you getting recognized for saying what needed to be said. It’s about more people hearing what needed to be heard. And maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll listen.
Your feelings are important. But so is helping to communicate the feelings of other people. Using your platform to give them space to be heard.
Through doing that, we do more than understand each other. We change each other.
Words do not change the world; actions do. But words can, if used properly, promote the kind of action that leads to long-lasting change.
You can make a difference with the words you choose to release out into the world. Whether that difference is positive or the opposite is, of course, up to you.
If you’ve always wanted your words to promote change, then there’s no better time than now to use your words to promote change.
If you need to write to process what is happening around you, absolutely do that. But in doing that, ask questions. Challenge yourself. Don’t settle for “I’m confused and I don’t know what to do.” You are a creator. Use your words to try creating solutions.
Start with words, and branch out from there.
You are a writer. You have a voice. Use that voice to encourage other voices to speak up, to spark change, to make things happen.
It’s not an accident that you run to words when things go wrong.
Make them count.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.