For pretty much all of my life I’ve loved to write. Although I’ve had my back-and-forths about careers, I’ve always been sure that I wanted to write. I struggled so long with how an “English” major was going to help the world. How could writing make a difference? Was choosing my passion for writing a selfish decision? Am I doing this because I want to, or because it’s the “right” thing to do? Recently, however, I’ve realized how important writing is. Society would not be where it is today without writers.
Consider Harriet Beecher Stowe. As Abraham Lincoln so aptly put it, she really was, “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” No, not because she wrote some great policy, or discovered a scientific phenomena. She simply wrote a book. A good one at that. In fact, she wrote a book that changed the world. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, or had to read it for school. Stowe not only wrote a great fiction, but she took an entirely different perspective than her society’s on slaves and slavery. She humanized the slaves. She made them real, and they were. However, it took one small, weak woman to write about it in order to alter the minds of many people around 19th century America.
Let’s go even further back in history. Consider the Sumerians. (I’m actually completely obsessed with them and secretly wish I was Sumerian…) They’re writing (called cuneiform) is the oldest writing discovered by archaeologists. They kept records, did arithmetic, wrote poetry, and tapped into their religion and spirituality all because of writing. The written language shaped their entire culture and improved it.
Okay, now let’s talk about the present. Think about it. Elections can be won, decisions are made, news is spread and all because of writing. Without journalists, how would we know what’s going on in the world? Or even simple things such as DIY tips and helpful blogs. Again, because of that single person who decided to take the time and WRITE it. Think about text books. History books. Only when someone who knows a lot about history and also has the patience and will to sit down and WRITE about it, can we appreciate and learn history.
Religion. Take a few seconds to think about a couple of religions. Whether they be Christianity, Islam, or Mormonism (or many, many, many more), almost all or all of them have a foundation. A standard “rule book”. This book, well obviously, had to have been written. Therefore, many religions thrive on the written word… on WRITING.
Lastly (but not leastly… that’s not even a word… ANYWAY), writing tells us a lot about culture. What’s being written, how it’s being written, and when it’s being written gives us much insight about that writer’s particular culture.
A single blog post can change someone’s mind. A book can change the world. Writing can make a difference. Writing DOES make a difference. And now I know that by choosing writing (journalism, english, etc…), I’m not just following my passion, I’m making a difference. I am doing the write (see what I did there ;) ?) thing. I may not be discovering a new treatment or passing an important law, but I’m still impacting the world. In my small, little way I do and will make a difference. Because writing does, in fact, change the world.