So often, we get caught up in writing projects, chasing deadlines, and focusing on the bottom line.
But it’s crucial to zoom out once in a while and consider how your work is changing other people’s lives for the better.Your writing is not mere intellectual entertainment. Quite the opposite, it has the power to affect a small group of people, or maybe even change the world. The scale of the impact is not as important as your intention to write something worthwhile for your readers.
Let’s take a look at a couple of ways in which you can positively impact the world with your writing.
1. Motivate your readers to take action
On a basic level, all writing is about persuasion to one degree or another. If you’re writing a novel, you must persuade readers to believe in your story and its characters. If you’re writing an ad, you want people to pull out their credit cards and buy your product.
As a writer, you must learn how to “build your case” and use this power of persuasion as a force for good. Even if you’re writing about abstract ideas, they too matter because ideas have a tangible effect on the real world and ultimately lead to action. Make sure you spread good ones.
2. Illuminate topics and stories that no one is talking about
In the era of blogging and social media, we often focus on keywords, web traffic, likes, and shares. But how about writing a story that has nothing to do with appeasing the search engines, or going viral? The legend has it that “no one is going to find it and read it, because it’s not SEO-friendly.” But this is simply not true.
There are media platforms that get tens of thousands of readers per day. You can pitch your story to them, and if it’s good enough, it will get published. You just need to get creative and write something that will tickle the zeitgeisty nerve.
You can also write for your blog and spread the piece through outreach – you set the rules. For some reason, I once wrote a 5000-word essay about “The Underwater Ruins of Dwarka” (an ancient archeological site in India).
It’s definitely not a trendy topic, but it’s the one I cared for, and since the day of the publication, the piece received more than 10,000 views and many shares, comments, and emails. This goes to show that there’s always someone else who cares.
3. Be a source of inspiration over the long term
There are a couple of authors that consistently put out good work. Over time, the cumulative effect of their creative efforts is so vast that it’s impossible to ignore. For me, in the area of personal development literature at least, it’s Brian Tracy.
The guy’s almost 80, and he’s still churning out a book a year, even though he already penned over 70 titles, many of which became international bestsellers. Now that’s what I call persistence and hard work.
This kind of long-term commitment to the craft is inspiring and worth emulating. Just think about how many people you could positively affect over a lifetime of writing!
4. Use your writing skills to support causes you care for
As a writer, you’re the last line of defense against those who have no respect for democracy or the freedom of speech. Besides, you have a responsibility to change the cultural narrative around the issues you care for.
Your book, your article, and your email may shift perspectives and change minds. It might be a drop in the ocean of information, but it will play its role. Remember that movie, The Butterfly Effect?
“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.”
Now be that butterfly, regardless if you’re supporting health education in the underdeveloped parts of the world, saving the oceans, or being a flicker of hope for the people who need it the most.
5. Write to positively impact your family, friends, followers, and subscribers
I don’t know if you’ve ever watched “The House of Cards” (hint – if you’re a writer, you should). There is a magnificent scene there, where Tibetan monks are invited to the White House to produce an intricate piece of art, only to destroy it according to the Buddhist views on the impermanence of all things.
When Claire (the First Lady) comes back to her bedroom, she finds a photo of the Buddhist artwork lying on the bed, with an attached note from Frank (the President) saying “nothing is forever – except us.”
I always thought it was a cool way to show someone that you care. So, think about a simple gesture where you use your writing skills to show someone how much they mean to you. This can have a tremendous positive impact on your personal, as well as professional life.
I hope that after reading this, you are sufficiently inspired to sit down and produce something beautiful that will put smiles on people’s faces, shift their attitudes, and infuse them with a cheerful mindset.
Sometimes a one-liner like “happiness is a warm puppy” is enough to do the trick. At other times, you may have to look deeper and write a heartfelt message to assuage a broken heart or motivate someone to take action. Whatever this, make it meaningful and write it well.
Do you have any other examples of how to make a positive impact through writing? Please feel free to leave a comment below!