Friday, February 14, 2014

Sticks and Stones: The Power of Words

We all remember those words from childhood… that false shield we held up to lessen the sting of juvenile taunts.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

I think we knew, even back then, how naive those words truly were. The truth is, words can cut so much deeper than a knife. They can mutilate on contact, leech like a slow acting poison for years, fester and poke at old wounds and insecurities. They can make us doubt ourselves. They can steal our joy. Shake our foundation. Words can puncture deep and keep on digging. Words can hurt.


Words can also heal. Mend. Inspire. A kind word can brighten your spirit. Change your attitude. Change your life. Even change the world.

Words don’t simply wither up and die once they lose their oxygen. They continue to speak for generations.

The word became flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. -John 1:1

Bottom line. Words are POWERFUL. 

And we, as writers, get the unique privilege of working with words like few others do. Sure, writer or not, we all use words. Sometimes we weaponize them in defense like we did when we were young. Other times we lavish them on those we love, and form deep bonds strengthened by expressions of affection. Our tone, our delivery, our word choice all contribute to who we are and how others perceive us.

But when we write, we get to weave words together in an intentional and artful way. We get to be wordsmiths in the truest sense. We don’t simply react to the situation or get runaway with tricky emotions. We craft. We mold. We shape a story like a piece of clay. Trimming and smoothing out the lines. Our words become our message, a way to communicate something deeper than an opinion or an entertaining story. We get to share our hearts on the page. A part of ourselves that isn’t always heard over the noise we create.

Your story, your words… are powerfully important. And when written, have great potential to find an audience beyond your everyday interaction and influence.

So take a moment to think on it. What are your words saying? How are they unfolding your message? Do your words cut or do they inspire? Don’t underestimate them. Let your art speak something to the world. Something empowering. Something true. Something worthy of the thought and process you give to every single precious word.

Write on.

Tell me: What is the central message of the story you are writing now? And how do you make your words count?


Amy Leigh Simpson writes Romantic Suspense that is heavy on the romance, unapologetically honest, laced with sass and humor, and full of the unfathomable Grace of God. She is the completely sleep deprived mama to two little tow-headed mischief makers and wife to her very own swoon-worthy hero. Represented by the oh-so-wise and dashing Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc.


Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Beautiful and so profound.

It's easy to trivialise what we do as writers. Thanks for the reminder that words are of utmost importance to God. So humbling that he can use our stumbling words to change hearts and bring him glory.

Pepper said...

Wow! Fantastic post, Ames.
Powerful ;-)

The message in the historical I'm editing right now is:

True living comes only with true forgiveness.

When past wounds haunt us they steal our present joy, so I hope I'm creating characters and a story that will speak through the generations to reveal God's healing power of forgiveness :-)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Loved this post, Amy. Words ARE powerful. I remember spitting out that mantra of sticks and stones through tears at kids who spoke meanly to me. I knew it was a lie.

Let's see, the story I'm revising has a message of second chances can happen and leave things better than before.

The story I'm plotting out will have a message talking about identity—who or what determines it. Obviously, I'll be showing that who we are in Christ matters far more than what people think of us. :)

Thanks for such a thought provoking post, Amy!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Thank you, Karen! In hindsight I probably should have posted something romantic! But this just felt right. It's good to remember the joy and responsibility that comes with writing. What a gift!!!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh, Pep! You always weave the most beautiful and powerful themes into your stories. All just overflowing from that full and generous heart!! Love u!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Great messages, Jeanne!! My first story was called Beauty for Ashes. I love a story of redemption! And how God can take the broken pieces of our pasts and create something beautiful!! Can't wait to read your stories someday! We all love you so much and know God has great things in store for your writing!

Ashley Clark said...

Great post, Ames! I absolutely agree! I think one thing that's really helped me with being intentional about words is studying poetry, since poems are so small, each word makes a difference. Amazing the power words have!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Studying poetry... Such a wonderful idea! Thanks for chiming in, Ash!