We’ve all been there. An issue nags us, tugs at us. We stay awake thinking about it or wake up brooding about it. Not sure of what to do, we turn to writing.
When the problems are small and personal, we write in our journals. It may just take a paragraph or a page, but it sometimes takes pages. After a while, we feel a little better. If not, we wake up the next day and write some more.
When the problems get bigger, the path is less clear. Our voices seem smaller and even feel mute. In your city or town or even on a larger scale, one little voice is hard to hear. As we found out in high school, we probably aren’t the only ones feeling like we do. That why it’s important to write.
Writing not only gives us a voice, it gives others permission to have a voice as well. A well placed letter to the editor will resonate with readers, evoking passions perhaps on both sides. This letter allows the more timid to speak up and the more vocal to focus. A letter to representatives, board members, or local leaders will solidify support for an issue or let them know your opposition.
There is a time to write because we love to and there is a time to write when it counts. Be active in your community, your schools, your neighborhoods. Lead with your actions and your words. Encourage others to use their voices, too. Dialogue can only happen when you are engaged. Your message matters. Speak up!
How has your writing been used to influence or persuade people?
“You can live 4 months without food, 4 days without water, 4 minutes without air, but you can’t live 4 seconds without hope”
This quote was made by blogger and activist Dalia Ziada. Dalia was named one of the 17 Bravest Bloggers by the Daily Beast. She writes from and about Egypt during turbulent times in her home country. She stood opposed to the ruling dictatorship and spoke openly to the people of Egypt and the world. With so much to lose, she used her blog to illuminate the corruption and point to a different way of leading the country. She put herself on the line for the greater good. Would you?
Dalia’s situation, along with the circumstances of all of the bloggers they highlighted, put them selves in danger. Real danger. Most of us do not. A majority of bloggers used their words to entertain, educate, or enlighten their readers. Some just rant on about mundane issues and use their blog space as a public diary. But all of us use our skills as writers to communicate…something.
While some bloggers have a large following, others are more modest. Would you risk losing your followers to stand up and really voice your opinion, even if it is not popular? Would you stand on the side of conscience even if it meant losing friends? Business? An election?
I find myself in such a situation. While the violence I might encounter would be equivalent to eggs being thrown at my house, the real damage might be more emotional. Speaking truth to power is a daunting task. Perhaps, in this case, a losing task. In the next few weeks, I’ll stand on the side of conscience against powerful self-interest. I’ll stand up for the voiceless. And I’ll stand against my fear of losing friends and business. Because if I don’t speak, I’ll risk losing so much more: self respect.
I won’t be one of the world’s bravest blogger at the end of all of this. I won’t even be Delaware’s bravest blogger. But, I will use my voice as a writer to stand up for what I feel is right. And if all goes well, maybe my kids will vote for me as their bravest mother.