Word Power | What Gives Written Words their Power?

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Words should not be an end in themselves, they are purveyors of things which far exceed them. They are messengers of thoughts— therein lies their power.

Writing has a bad reputation. Not with everyone, but I frequently come across people who view it as a torturous task, a thing to be done only when it cannot be avoided. But come on guys, writing is no more dreadful than talking.

At the core, writing is based the same principles as talking. It all starts in the mind. You have an idea, a thought, a question, and you want to communicate it. When the thing being communicated sparks your own interest, moves you, awakens an emotion, enlightens the mind, tells a story, proves a point, settles a strife, or kindles a fire– communicating it is easy. Whether voice or pen, the thing will flow out of you.

Having to “write” when you have nothing to share is a problem just like having to give a speech on a topic you know nothing about. This where people run into the biggest writing problem, they want to write for the sake of writing, but can’t figure out what to share.

What to Write About

When choosing a topic, choose something that moves you first because your words can only move your reader to the degree that they move you as the writer. The same thing happens in conversation. The story being told is interesting to us as listeners only to the degree that it interests the speaker.

I often catch myself being delighted by the most unexcitable topics only because the person speaking shows genuine interest in what they are talking about. I’m not into golf, but there were times when the person, delectably describing a golfing session, sweeps me away. Not because golf suddenly becomes fascinating, but because the passion in that person strikes that chord in me. In the end, it is not the golf that interests, but the emotion behind golf.

Sometimes people have bad associations with writing carried over from their school years when they were obligated to write essays about things they were not interested in and topics they knew nothing about. As they wrote the un-writable they bored themselves to death. The next step was to proofread, the higher of torture. Here the problem is not the writing, but the lack of interest. Ever hear a foreigner communicate beautifully with virtually no vocabulary? Regardless of whether pen or voice is your medium, when you have something to say, you will find a way to say it. And when you have nothing to say, even the most elaborate vocabulary won’t help you.

Experience First, Write Later

Don’t think about writing. Think about living, learning, researching, and when your mind fills to the brim, it will pour words with beautiful fluency.

Words cannot be an end in themselves, for when thoughts are not attached to them, they are only interesting as a thesaurus. But when they act as messengers of thoughts, they take on the nature of the thoughts you are conveying. In short, word power is thought power.