I don’t think I am alone when I tell the truth that there was always something in me that wanted to change the world.
However, you see the world–in need of God, unfair, abusive, frightening–I believe that everyone has a desire to change it. Writers are slightly different because most of us believe that one story–the right story, told to the right people on the right day in just the right way–can change things. And as you think back on your own life, anyone who reads avidly can probably remember at least one book or story or poem that had a significant impact on them. That’s what motivates a lot of writers to do what they do. They want to say those right words and make a difference.
Well, here’s a tidbit from my million years or so of experience: It’s not what we do that counts. It’s who we are.
That profound statement has taken me years to understand, and I’m not sure I still even understand it completely. But I will tell you what I do know. Writing is a reflection of the writer. If you want to write a story that changes lives, the first thing you have to do is change yourself. We can’t help it. It’s impossible to write an earth-changing story unless we sincerely believe the things we are writing. And as I go through life, I find that many more people are inspired by the little things I do–things I do unintentially as opposed to sermons about rightness or goodness–than they are by my stories. Chances are, an idea might jog someone’s mind or conscience. But often it’s the little, unintentional things that have the biggest impact.
This isn’t put here to discourage you. Far from it. What it means is that we just need to practice what we preach. And then when it comes to the writing part, just have fun. Let the story live; let the characters breathe. If you’re sincerely living the live you propose, the story will reflect it.
But in the end, remember it is just a story. On the other hand, your life is a living story to those around you. And what you are is a lot more powerful than the words you put on paper.