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Why Writers Are the Most Influential People in the World

“…. I soon came to feel that teaching these sensitive young souls Latin and mathematics was cheating them of something far more essential — what they needed wasn’t dry information but hope, the kind that comes from being transported into a dream-world of possibility.”

— Helen Fagin 

Writers are the most influential people in the world.

It’s a bold statement to make, but it’s true. Among world leaders such as presidents, chancellors, celebrities, athletes, it can be hard to gauge who makes the biggest impact. But I’ve come to the firm conclusion that writers—more specifically, storytellers—are at the top of the “World’s Most Influential People” list.

Don’t worry … I’ll prove that in a sec.

But first, I want to show you why this is so important.

Do you see yourself as influential? If so, how influential? How many people do you see yourself impacting? Five? Fifty? A thousand?

What if I told you that lives hang on the next story you write? Would that affect how seriously you tackled your next project? Would you find it easier to get up in the morning, pry open your laptop, and let your fingers fly over the keys every day?

I know, I know … why so serious? Let’s take a moment to substantiate my earlier claim—writers are the most influential people in the world.

Think about the last presidential election: America torn into multiple camps, lies and rumors being spread on all sides, fights breaking out in the streets. It wasn’t pretty.

But now picture the millions of people who still packed out movie theaters in 2016 to watch movies like Civil War, Arrival, La La Land, Rogue One, Hacksaw Ridge ….

Millions of people who had been at each other’s throats for months. Who differed so violently from each other.

All coming together to sit in the same room, watch the same movie, and share laughter, surprise, joy, horror, tears, rejoicing.

The one place we remain united as human beings is in our universal enjoyment of stories. And each story teaches us all something about ourselves and about the world we live in. A Christian, a Jew, a Catholic, a Muslim, and an atheist can walk out of the same movie theater with the same emotions churning. Not only that, but that movie will shape how they view the world from that day forward.

The one place we remain united as human beings is in our universal enjoyment of stories.

In other words, storytellers have the ability to influence any person’s worldview no matter what their current one is.

That’s pretty powerful.

Now back to my earlier question: what if lives hung in the balance, depending on whether or not they read your story? Would it motivate you more?

Because stories save lives all of the time. 

A Polish holocaust survivor tells how Gone with the Wind helped her and her young Jewish pupils regain a sense of humanity during the most deprived, barbaric period of their lives. 

Readers will send in letters sharing how a particular novel changed their life at a critical moment.

Not to mention a certain classic story, written long ago, that has quite literally saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives. It’s a fictional story that’s been retold so many times that just about everyone has heard it: The Prodigal Son, told by Jesus Christ. The moving truth of that story, though a work of fiction, still brings readers to tears and explains the life-saving reality of the gospel like no other story can.

If even Jesus wielded the power of fiction to change lives, why do we ourselves hesitate?

Maybe we don’t see our story as life-changing. It’s a heady responsibility, after all.

Or maybe we don’t see anything special in our own writing.

Maybe we’re bored by our own normalcy and can’t see ourselves doing anything life-changing.

Maybe we’re hiding the truth in our hearts, afraid that we’re unqualified to share it.

Maybe we’re guilty, ashamed, broken people. Like everyone else.

Let me tell you as one who was once guilty, ashamed, broken: you have no right to hold the truth from me.

Let me tell you as one who was once guilty, ashamed, broken: you have no right to hold the truth from me.

The truth isn’t yours. You don’t get to hide it.

And sharing the truth through a work of fiction is possibly the strongest way to share life with an otherwise hostile reader. I could be a militant progressive, a radical Muslim, an angry atheist, and yet your story could still impact my life with truth.

“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth,” said Albert Camus.

Sometimes the best way to understand a deep truth is through a story. It’s a chance to live through someone else’s eyes and experience something personally that you never would have otherwise.

Powerful is a word I keep using to describe stories, and I can’t use it enough. I think we fail to see how valuable our own writing is.

You’re the author of a future book that will help a reader through a tough time.

You’re the author of a future book that will help a reader through a tough time.

Say it.

See it.

Give yourself permission to write that book, then give it everything you’ve got. Your heart, your soul.

Pouring your very spirit into a novel is not a waste. And it never will be. It’s a privilege, a duty, an honor. Writing a book is sending a message in a bottle to a reader on distant shores, telling them that there is hope in this life for a better one.

Don’t hide it in your closet. Let your light shine.

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Joshua Sword

I'm twenty-six and work as a livestream producer by day. I'm highly facetious. It's very hard to take me seriously, a fact that I carefully nurture and protect, because I don't want people calling me Mr. Josh and kissing my hand and handing me scotch or whatever they do in the serious world. I like my own world just fine.

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