Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Read My Writing: Change the World

If you want to change the world,
pick up your pen and write.
~Martin Luther

It's my new favorite quote that I found three weeks ago. I have it written, in my hand, on a dry erase board in my office. It gives me hope.

When I was 17, I thought I could change the world. No, I really thought I could. I even declared such on a college scholarship application. However, decades later, my inner mantra has faded like my eyesight. I'm a bit jaded. I wonder if life is passing me by on this change-the-world thing. I've read Revelation and I know who the world-changer is and how it's all going down.

In the meantime, before the Apocalypse occurs, this new favorite quote is dwelling in my psyche and changing my pessimistic perspective. Can I really effect change at this late date? If I can't go somewhere and fight injustice in person, could my writing deliver the TKO necessary to right the wrong? Is Martin Luther correct? Do I dare dust off my buried, deflated dreams and put my pen to work?

This week in reading your writing, I came across a post with a link to an article that reinforced the concept of how powerful the written word is. I am changed having read it.

Wendy, who serves in Japan, linked her readers to the blog post, "After Shocks," by Philip Yancey, that gives his account of the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. Like Martin Luther, Philip Yancey is quite influential in his writings. This week, he unknowingly becomes our mentor.

By reading his post, I would like to point out several things Mr. Yancey does that could make your writing effective as you tell your global stories.

1. He educates and reminds the reader with his research and use of facts. He sets the stage by reporting in the first few paragraphs the details of the tsunami; he brings in scientific principles throughout the article; he accurately reports the numbers of deaths, locations, debris totals.

2. He then weaves in the human side of the tsunami with stories, quotes, and photos. Note how these personal stories are written: not over the top, no excessive use of adjectives. The reader is not manipulated by the writer; she is moved by the simple telling of the story.

3. He personally enters in throughout the course of the post...and writes with the hope of changing the world: "May we not forget Japan."

I would love to read about what's happening in your corner of the globe with stories written like Mr. Yancey's. Although he crafted his post to end with a call to action, I think I came to that conclusion somewhere in the middle of the article.

Good writing stirs our hearts, daresay, changes us and the world we live in.


us5 said...

okay, so i'm thinking through this one, and i'm wondering. should these three points always come in this order? or do you think that 2 could come before 1? just trying to learn to do this better... :D thanks in advance!

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

@us5--I love your question...and am thinking about it too.

Your style of writing dictates how you incorporate the 3 points. Philip Yancey's style is a mix of journalism and personal interest. His writing appeals to everyone--men and women. I like how he draws us in with the journalistic reporting style and then introduces the human element and the spiritual component. He mixes the front page-style of the newspaper with the "home" and "religion" section...and as a result, draws in folks that usually pick one section over the other.

However,I think you get to choose the order by:

1. Knowing your audience--if you want to pull in a more diverse audience, consider what might draw them in.

2. Knowing your voice and being true to that--are you a storyteller, do you draw your readers in with a tender conversation with a national; is that what your readers have come to expect and what keeps them coming back?

3. Thinking about balance--perhaps it is time to take your writing to the next level and incorporate something new--like a few stats or journalistic facts. Let it reach into their brains as well as their souls.

If you or our readers have other writers whose style is mentor-worthy, please share.

us5 said...

thank you! these are helpful points. i appreciate that you took time to think about this and unpack it for me. :)


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