Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

A Writer’s Biggest Struggle

Most writers struggle with the same thing. It’s one little thought that threatens to destroy their message before it ever leaves their fingertips:

What I say doesn’t matter.

Struggling kid

Photo Credit: JosephGilbert.org via Compfight cc

“What difference do my words make?” you ask.

This is what holds you back, what keeps you from your potential as an artist.

It’s the doubt that plagues you, the apparition that looms over you, filling you with insecurity and fear. And it’s preventing your words from reaching the audience they were meant to reach.

How I saw this happen first-hand

A couple years ago, when I was still working for a nonprofit organization, I shared on this blog a story about an orphanage in Haiti that had a dire need.

Action was required, and people responded.

In fact, so many people raised their voices in a week that the Haitian government had to do something. 10,000 people banded together via social media, with no other tools to work with than their words — and they made a difference.

A virtual mob of people who wouldn’t keep quiet about injustice shut down a corrupt orphanage that was trafficking little children, selling them into slavery. It made national and international news.

And it made me believe in the power of words again.

Friends who worked for aid groups in the developing world all told me the same thing: “This doesn’t happen.” Not in a week. Not even in a month.

What made the difference was the fact that so many spoke up, saying this was not okay.

The conclusion we all should make

Words make a difference. Talk isn’t cheap. Your message matters. And something terrible happens when you don’t speak up. That’s what I’m trying to say here.

Many of us have heard this quote by Edmund Burke:

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

So if you want evil to continue in the world, if you want to see the status quo spread, shut up. Don’t say a word. And don’t give your writing the significance it deserves.

Continue apologizing for your work and downplaying your gifts, but whatever you do, don’t speak. Because when you do, things change.

And who wants, or needs, that?

May you, in spite of your fears and apprehensions, believe that your words do matter. And that someone, somewhere, needs to hear them.

By the way, remember that trip I took to Africa earlier this year? One of the goals for it was to raise sponsorships for children in Uganda. I received word not too long ago that we exceeded our goal, raising over 430. Thanks to all who read, shared, and sponsored! I hope this encourages you that your words do, indeed, matter.

What’s your biggest writing struggle? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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