The Power of Words

Monday, January 07, 2008

By Valerie Fentress

Okay, bear with me. This maybe a little deep for Monday morning, but it’s something that hit me over the holiday season. My family was watching the movie ‘The Kingdom’ with Jamie Fox and Jennifer Garner, and the scene just before the credits hit me hard. I’m not giving away any spoilers, I promise, but the last scene focuses on four words that were the driving force of the entire movie, which got me thinking. What kind of power do words have?

Now we’ve all heard the adage, the pen is mightier than the sword, but it's not so much the actual pen that is mightier, but the words the pen scribbles on paper. As ‘keepers of the written word’ as I like to say, this is a question for each of us to consider. So how do we apply this concept to our daily writing routines?

When I sit down to start a new project there’s one phrase I like to fill in before I get started. This phrase helps direct my writing throughout the entire process, almost as a motivation and encouragement all in itself. The phrase is:

I write to you _____________, that you might know________________.

Filling in the blanks help give me an audience and a purpose for my writing, because no matter how you boil it down, writing is about conveying knowledge, fiction and non-fiction. Whether you’re a big reader or not, words etched in stone, stories on parchment, journals or scrapbooks each fascinate us to some degree. It is in our very nature, as human beings, and defiantly as women, to spread knowledge. So let me ask you, what are you sharing?

I know this is a personal question and each one of you will answer it differently. But I know the desire I have for all the WIP’s in my head is for each of them to make an impact. To challenge people to look at their world differently and I know many of you feel the same way or you wouldn’t call yourself writers.

Words have the power to tear down and uplift, to challenge and encourage. Take the time to consider your impact, whether small or large. Being writers is not an easy calling, but the ripples we can make in the world is alarming.

Here’s another movie that proves this point. M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Lady in the Water’, is about a muse that is sent to the human realm to inspire an author to write a book that will be the driving force behind a great world leader in the future. And that’s the impact writer’s have. We have the power to inspire others, encourage people to think differently, and pull them from the world that surrounds them. It is an awesome power, and ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. (Sorry, I watched a lot of movies over the holidays)

So what will your impact be as a writer? How will your words encourage the people around you in 2008?

Happy Writing!


J.Alpha said...

I write to you, Valerie, that you might know how inspiring I found your words--truly the right words for me at the right time.

Thank you!

Marcia Peterson said...

Very motivating, Valerie! Great post.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post Valerie!

When I write for the blog, I picture hundreds of different women writers I've come to know over the years. I know that's not specific, but that's one thing I always remind myself with nonfiction writing. I write to share--to give readers something to chew on, to take away and put to use. I write like the whole world is watching.

In my fiction writing, for some reason, I tend to forget whom I'm writing for. I end up becoming narcissistic. It's all about me. But really, it's not. It's good to check yourself when it comes to fiction as well. It's just such a release that I feel like if I censored myself in any way, I would be cheating myself. That's fine for a first draft, but if a novel is going to be saleable, then it's very important to consider your audience.

I write to you Wowsers, that you might know I tend to ramble on my blog comments.

<3 Ang

Anonymous said...

Hi Valerie,

Very powerful! I must say, that we all are fascinated by the written word. What intrigues are hiding in that diary under you sisters bed?

Right now, I must say given the story I am working on for children: "I write to you, to say, that you don't have to be afraid of that bully in school. Stand up for what you believe in."

Thank you for making so many of us stop and think about who we are writing for. It isn't just about us, it is about those who may pick up our stories and read them in the future. :)

Happy Writing

Anonymous said...

Great thinking material and not too deep at all. I'm definitely encouraged to think of who my audience is now that I've read that.

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