Writing is a mysteriously powerful outlet. It can give a voice to an otherwise silent part of us; the one we are reluctant to share with the outside world. These written words give us an opportunity to say the things we need to, haven’t had the chance to or, maybe, shouldn’t say to the world. Writing gives us permission to be ourselves, vulnerable and insecure or powerful and confident. Until we share them, these ideas remain no more than words on paper.
However, once they are shared, these words have power. They can build us up or tear us down. It doesn’t matter if they are true or false. It only matters whether they have been read. More often than not, once they leave their author, they are left to be interpreted by the reader, without further explanation or discussion.
The power of the written word is seen on a daily basis, often minute by minute as it ‘trends’ or ‘goes viral’. With the proliferation of social media, everyone now has the power to be a writer – a chronicler of ideas, thoughts and emotions. With a social media account and a keyboard, they have a platform and the power to be heard. In fact, anyone can write down their ideas, sometimes in less than 140 characters, and send them out into the world.
But the true power of words exists in their intention. Words can inform or persuade. They can excite or incite. They can build walls or tear them down. The true power of words exists in what you choose to do with them. When a writer sits down to a keyboard, they do so with a purpose. They have a story to tell, an idea to explore or a voice which needs to be heard. While each and every one of those goals is important to the writer (or they wouldn’t sit down to write them), it is important to remember we have a responsibility to those who read our words. When we accept permission to speak our truth, whether anonymously or credited, we make a choice to accept responsibility for those words and their effect on others.
What do you choose to do with your words?