When You Write to Change the World

It began quite innocently, perhaps a seed planted in childhood. Maybe a God-given dream, even a possible calling. But somehow you became entrenched in the most dangerous profession on the face of the earth: writing.

Now as a writer myself, I understand that writers are prone to overstatement and even drama, and we would all do well to take sweeping statements like this with a grain of salt. But a far greater error would be to underestimate the power of our words.

Martin Luther famously said, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” And in his acclaimed book on screenwriting, author Robert McKee said, “Artists threaten authority by exposing lies and inspiring passion for change. This is why when tyrants seize power, their firing squads aim at the heart of the writer.”

Words inspire. Or discourage. Words heal. And wound. Words inflame revolution, or dull the mind with brainwashing monotony and distraction. The philosophically-minded among us will weigh word choice carefully, aiming for the best fit, the most profound — words that penetrate to a spiritual level beyond paper and ink. We understand that words have power, and we want to be a part of the action.

Whoa, Nelly.

So eager to get on the battlefield. Ready to see some bloodshed, are we?

Wait.

Think.

Before signing on the dotted line of a writer’s enlistment, take time to count the cost. Writers often grapple with the deepest of emotions, because as humans we were meant to decipher life using words. These things, these letters arranged in various ways, are the tools by which we give meaning to the ache within our souls. If you’re ever tempted to minimize the power of writing, remember that when God sent Jesus to save the world, He chose to make the Word become flesh. And then He used writers to pass this concept down through the generations.

As writers, we are on the spiritual front lines.

Are you ready for that? Not all writers, of course, will choose to enter the fray. There are types of writing that barely skim the surface, that leave both writer and reader unchallenged. This is not the type of writing I mean. But if you go deeper spiritually and emotionally, you will push and strain against the parts of life that don’t make much sense at all. You’ll see failings in yourself and society — in seeking words for that strange dichotomy, you’ll also see the beauty and pain in human experience.

It takes courage. Tenacity. Vulnerability. Regardless of what happens on that screen, you must unequivocally understand that even if your writing never sees the light of day, even if it doesn’t spark revolution or incite some kind of high-level change in society, the writing process itself will change you personally.

And nothing else quite captures the world’s attention like personal transformation, in the hands of someone willing to tell the story.

15 thoughts on “When You Write to Change the World

  1. “These things, these letters arranged in various ways, are the tools by which we give meaning to the ache within our souls.” The ache and joy, really. But I love this line. And this post. Well-done, future world-changer. 🙂

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    1. Great point — the joy within our souls as well. Sometimes words can’t even really capture it, although as writers we will try and try again. Thanks for stopping by, Amber!

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  2. Each day, I look for at least one new blog to connect too, one that inspires me with either eloquence of word, thought, or emotion. Today, I found you: a blog that incorporates all three.

    These are the words I needed today Anna. Thank you so much for the rush of wind beneath my wings!

    Like

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