The Power of Writing

Writers have made a huge difference in the history of the world. Just think of all the social changes that were influenced by information - and propaganda - that reached the people who fought for social change or had the power to change laws.

And we can, and are, making a difference, too.

It's obvious that nonfiction books and articles often provide useful information just when the readers need it, but even fiction can make a difference. Sometimes providing escape and respite from stress helps people relax and regain strength to deal with their problems. Fiction can also suggest ways to deal with problems.

When I was a kid I was a skinny, asthmatic, coward, constantly teased by the class bullies and usually living in fear. About ten years ago I went to a school reunion and was amazed that people remembered me as brave. I remembered several times when I'd stood up for what was right even though doing so could have gotten me into trouble, and realized I'd done so because in all the books I'd read the protagonists acted like that. I guess I assumed that was the only alternative. Those books changed me and perhaps the way I acted as a result made other changes.

What are some ways your writing can make a difference?