Writing a Difference in the World

Running Dogs, photo by Tudor on FlickrThis is the final day of the WordCount Blogathon. I finished with flying colours, posting every day of the month. Speed River Journal received more visits than ever before. The three most popular posts have a common underlying theme of making a difference in the world:

  1. The Baillie Birdathon: My Biggest Day of Birding Ever
  2. Guelph’s Two Rivers at Risk
  3. Diversity in Community (Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat)

Why do we write? Like many writers I hope to make a living at it, but we also want to influence our world for the better. And while we write for change, writing changes us. Here are three life lessons reflected in those stories.

1. Be Active in the World

The stereotype of the reclusive writer has some basis in truth. I have often been one of them. Unfortunately, those who hope for a better world must at least engage with other people. Get involved in the community. Participate in a sport, amateur theatre or a musical group. Support a cause. Teach some classes. These involvements make happier, more experienced writers. In community we become players in the game.

2. Write Your Stories

While participating, write about your experiences. Even if you want to write fiction or poetry, make a habit of recording your life. My most interesting ideas come not when I sit aching over an empty page. Writer’s block breaks when I have time for both activity and reflection. Analysis happens when we prepare our stories for an audience.

Posting every day requires more time than I can afford. Now that the Blogathon is over, I plan is to post three times a week. That allows readers to build some expectation, but most importantly, it demands planning and investigation by me.

3. Network With Your Communities

Promote your work. Tell people about your stories. Use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or other social media. When you read someone else’s blog that relates to something you have written, comment and provide a link back to your story.

For introverts this is probably the hardest part. Sometimes I feel like an insecure child demanding attention. This is where being more involved in the community makes a difference. Experience lends relevance. When I have something valuable to offer, I am not wasting anybody’s time. I am making a difference.

Looking Forward

It was exhilerating to concentrate on the craft of writing for a month. I wrote roughly 15,750 words and carefully edited each post. That is 500 crafted words per day. It suggests how much I can accomplish with dedication and encouragement. At that rate, I could write a novel in six months.

What difference would you like to make in the world?


Dogs running, photo by Tudor.

9 thoughts on “Writing a Difference in the World

  1. I didn’t calculate how many words I wrote during the blogathon, Van, but this is an interesting statistic to track as well. It really does show you how much you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.

    1. WordPress shows a word count at the bottom of every post, so I just opened each of the files and added the numbers. It was cumbersome. I suppose I’m a little obsessive about measuring things. 🙂

  2. Great post today! Many writers—and non-writers—don’t fully appreciate how much influence we each have in the world and what a difference we can make by showing up and doing our best, or sometimes simply by offering a kind word.

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you mentioned that, Jennifer. Sometimes all it takes is paying attention.

  3. I love all of these, but especially “be active in the world.” Because what else is there, really?

    1. Solitude is my natural tendency. As an introvert I am well aware of my need for time alone. It recharges my batteries. However, I can easily overdo it. One thing I learned this month is that being more active benefits my writing. Some activities fit with solitude, like foraging, gardening or doing the birdathon. However, I find community to be an essential part of the mix.

  4. Nice post. I agree. And you’ve given me an idea for a future post on my writing blog: Are all writers introverts? (And if not, what are they doing locked in a tiny room with a keyboard?) Just joking about the last part. Maybe. KL

    1. I doubt that all writers are introverts. I’d say they are more suited to the amount of solitude required. Novelists? For sure. However, I expect extraverts would make better news reporters, for example.

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