Your Most Important Resource as a Writer

'Books' photo (c) 2007, Lasse Havelund - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/What would you say is your most important resource as a writer?

We writers come from every type of background imaginable — rich, poor, middle class, rural, urban, suburban, European, American, Chinese, African, Australian, well-loved, disregarded, respected, disrespected, great childhood, horrible childhood, great life experiences, miserable life experiences, leaders, followers, idealists, nihilists.  We’re all uniquely blended.

What do all great writers have in common?

All fascinating writers find a way to share their truth in a compelling way.

That doesn’t mean a personal truth is THE TRUTH.  Unfortunately, words and writing can also cause great harm.

Hitler’s truth in Mein Kampf (or My Struggle) influenced thousands if not millions of people to fan the flames of hatred, discrimination and ultimately created a devastating world war.  Later in the twentieth century, the words of the little red book by Mao Zedong brainwashed millions of Chinese later in the twentieth century.  Many of us don’t realize that people died under persecution from Mao than Hitler.

I read some of Mao’s words from the little red book on Wikipedia today:

A man in China is usually subjected to the domination of three systems of authority [political authority, family authority and religious authority]…. As for women, in addition to being dominated by these three systems of authority, they are also dominated by the men (the authority of the husband). These four authorities – political, family, religious and masculine – are the embodiment of the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system, and are the four thick ropes binding the Chinese people, particularly the peasants.

On the surface, these words would seem to liberating words, especially for poor women.  Interestingly, in some ways, the movement away from external authority is precisely what has happened in America since the 1960’s.  However, in China’s case these ideas were used to disrupt the freedom of the Chinese to choose their work, or to practice religious freedom or bond with their family.

My oldest son is currently reading two books, one about Mao and Stalin.  To some extent, he inspired this post.   He asked me the other day if there something was wrong with him because he wanted to read about evil dictators.  I told him that it’s important to read about those who distort the truth. It’s important to read the lies or partial truths that have been used to enslave people in other times so that we can learn discernment in our own day.

It seems that America is in the middle of its own struggle to discern the truth for how to move forward as a country, with different sides painting the other as a villain, and emphasizing lightning rod issues that are primarily used by politicians to cause division, not understanding and ultimately serve special interests.

In storytelling, it’s entertaining to have villains.  In real life, polarized thinking can lead to disaster. So, it’s important how we as writers develop our personal truth.

Writing is a terrible and wonderful way to discover our truth.   It can lead us to face our own darkness so that we can write the truth.  Sometimes we see dark characters in our creative works represent way too well the sides of our own selves that we’d rather not see.  Other times we realize that the light that comes through our writing can inspire others to see a piece of “The Truth” through the lens of our personal stories or experience.

In my view, there is only one way to develop truth as a writer, and that is to consistently practice writing, and sharing it with others.  There are exceptions, but most of us need to refine our truth.  Blogging is a one way of doing this that I wished that I had started sooner.  Blogging every day, with as fresh of an idea about your Writing Your Destiny is stretching my skills as a writer, which is good for me.

Of course, it’s a vulnerable thing to share our truth, because not everyone who reads our words will resonate with them. Be kind to yourself as you take chances with your writing.

Remember that no matter what type of writing you do, you can be a light in the world if you’re aligned with truth.  With so many distortions of the truth in politics, the media and manipulative stories told across the globe, the world needs writers who share the truth, especially the kind of writer that speaks to our common struggles in a way that promotes clarity and peaceful discussion and yes, disagreement.

May we all use our most important resource as a writer to be a voice for truth in our time whether we’re writing a cook book, a poem, a novel, a memoir or a manifesto on a new global economic system.  Our vision of the truth is needed.

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