Writing for Many and Writing for One
As writers I think we all appreciate the power of the written word. I believe there is much truth in the saying , “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Lives, families, religions, and nations are built with words. Great works of fiction are no exception to this phenomenon. Dickens, Voltaire, Austen, Sinclair, and countless others wrote stories that highlighted societal injustices. Equal rights, child labor, government corruption, almost any social issue you can think of has been and still is influenced by the words of great fiction writers.
Other writings may contribute in seemingly smaller, but equally important ways. Entertainment to fill a dark day. Empathy from a main character, who while fictional, seems to express exactly how you feel. A conversation starter with a potential friend. A bridge builder between generations. The power and possibilities of the written word are astounding.
In general (when I’m not delusional) I aspire to share my words in the lesser ways. I hope my stories will entertain, touch, and maybe in some small way influence my readers. It seems like a small dream. My book in someone’s hand. My words, a drop of water in the sea of the published word. I work hard for this dream, crafting and editing and laboring over my writing. I read and study and spend countless hours working for the hope that my words will matter. And then I remember, my words matter now. I do not have to be published to write something meaningful. I don’t even have to write a story. A thoughtful email, a relevant poem, a blog post, an inscription in a book all have power.
I will never forget a letter my mother wrote me in high school. In it she said, “Candi, sometimes you’re that square peg and the people around you are trying to force you into a round hole. Never forget that you are perfect just the way you are.” Those words were powerful. They spoke to my fragile teenage heart. They changed me. In college a friend wrote a one line inscription in a book she gave me. It simply said, “A book about the miracles of living to a friend who has also opened my eyes to them.” I cannot tell you how good that made me feel and how much I still love that friend.
When this business gets discouraging and crazy and sometimes I wonder if anyone will ever care how much of myself and my life I’ve poured into developing my craft, I try to remember there are ways I can use my writing and love of words right now. Today. Ways that matter to the people I love. When I remember that it puts life in perspective. It lifts up my heart. It makes my all my work seem like time well spent.