Words have power. They can build someone’s world, or tear it down. To make matters worse, we may not see the impact until years later. You can support a career, or dismantle it piece-by-piece.
With Banned Books Week, I often celebrate the fact that the right story can change someone’s life, for the better. My goal is to be that kind of writer. It means assessing how people review your work online, ensuring you don’t go viral for putting your foot in your mouth in front of thousands of users. For others, it may mean not upsetting that one person who reads your posts and only comments in real life complain about them and then forget that they hurt your feelings, so yes that is why you don’t confide in them. In some unique cases, you write to bring joy to one person so that they can feel better after a rough day.
We also can’t predict how people will interpret the work. Sometimes Death of the Author happens. You may find people whose opinions you find disagreeable deciding that your work is the best thing; I’ve been lucky about this. In the best case, your friends see what you are doing, and dig deeper, adding interpretations that expand your original view. I’ve also been lucky to have friends do this.
In the end, all we can do is assess our intentions, and how our words carry them out. Then you put a story, blog or article out into the world, and hope it finds an audience. Maybe it will brighten someone’s day, or encourage them to make a change.
What impact are you going to leave with your work?