I have long been a proponent of the power of language. From the time I wrote an essay in second grade that blew away half of the elementary school teaching staff, to what felt like thousands of rounds of high school debate, to my current job at the helm of a fast-growing stable of content writers, language has been an intimate part of my existence.
Image: Hownote via Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0
I thrive on it and would perhaps die without it. I feel so strongly about this that I wonder sometimes what I would do if I couldn’t type because I had no fingers or couldn’t speak because… well, the thought is too horrible to entertain.
Writers really can change the world. Their mastery of language puts them at the helm of one of humanity’s most powerful tools. And that position creates tangible results on a nearly daily basis.
Here are four ways content writers can change the world (some of which are employed by writers every day).
1. Leverage content for causes.
Explaining causes to people is never easy. But writers- and social media practitioners, speakers, and other professional communicators- can often get the point across as well as or better than others. Writers are excellent when it comes to producing scripts addressing world issues.
There’s an idea behind every script, and there is a writer behind each of those ideas. Writers are best equipped to find a cause, pick up a pen, and get to work.
2. Add ideas to the world with clearer conversations— both online and off.
It’s not abnormal for a good writer to be a good all-around communicator (though it’s far from granted as fact… the same way Johnny Carson was an excellent talk show host, but not so good as a backstage conversationalist). Yet writers make excellent speech writers, and often excellent dinner guests.
The late Christopher Hitchens was well-known for being an excellent speaker and conversationalist and brought more than a few philosophical ideas to the world. #WUL writers are also pretty doggone good at keeping digital dialogues rolling.
Writers converse well. And the more they converse, the more ideas there are floating out there, waiting to change the world.
3. Engage in civic innovation.
Last week, Houston engaged in an effort to crowd-source solutions to city issues. The Houston Writeathon brought together writers, designers, stakeholders and decision-makers to solve city problems by improving communication.
But such an effort doesn’t have to be limited to Houston. It’s an effort that can be started inside the boundaries of any city, town or other designated political area where a few like-minded, motivated people can join together to make a positive difference in the way the government communicates to citizens.
If you live in another city, feel free to reach out and bounce around ideas on how you can start something like it in your own hometown. We will be happy to tell you what we learned at the event.
4. Team up with natural allies in both the arts and sciences.
Understand: there is no actual gap between art and science. There may appear to be one because of the way we have described these different categories of study for thousands of years. However, the real gap is not between disciplines, but in our minds as to how to combine and apply these different fields.
This is a concept discussed by Robert Greene in Mastery and perhaps best disproved by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Leonardo Da Vinci. Art and science can be combined into one idea within any effort.
Writers can help the world far more by teaming up with scientists to help describe their efforts. They can explain the inner workings of a particular piece of art. And they should expand their own horizons, too, practicing scientific concepts by taking instruments apart and putting them back together, studying diagrams, and generally extending the hand of writers on behalf of the rest of humanity.
Writers can bridge the gaps of ideas with their language and just a little bit of effort.