The Power of Words

Cara writing advice 4 Comments

I make my living with words. Whether’s it’s teaching graduate classes at a Big Ten university or writing, words are my livelihood.

I’ve had a love affair with words since I learned to read. I still vividly remember being a first grader and told I couldn’t read a book because it was at a sixth grade level. Guess which book became my favorite of that year, and I still remember that story about the little Israelite girl who told Naaman to go to Israel to be healed. So inspired to see how a young girl could effect the world around her.words

Then as an 8 year old the small Christian school I attended had each student write in a journal each week. I still have that journal — it is filled with short stories — many of Toad and Frog. Any guesses what books I was reading then? But those early stories lead to a lifestyle of writing in journals. Some years it was short diary entries: today I did this. Other years it was free verse. Then I got a computer and started writing short stories and trying my hand at novels.

Those early experiences led to a certain romance with words.

There’s magic to finding the right word. The word that perfectly conveys an emotion or  person.A Writer's New Years

Maybe you’ve felt it. You’ve read a line in a book that made you stop and reread it because of its beauty. Its perfectness. It resonates.

Or there’s a character that you think about days, weeks, and months after you close the book. You are effected and changed by their fictional journey on the page.

This is why Jesus used stories. When we use stories our brains engage with information on a different level. I read an article last week that mentioned studies that have been done that show that the hearer of a story’s brain will change to match that of the storyteller. You see and experience what the author wants. With Christian fiction you have the added element of the faith journey. Of being challenged or encourage in your journey as you experience the character’s own journey.

Jesus, as our Creator, understood how our brains work. As I reread Mark with my kids, I’m noticing again how many times Jesus told a story, a parable to convey great truth.

That’s why words are a writer’s lifeblood. If I want to tell story’s of lasting significance, then I must share them with carefully ordered and constructed words.

Do you love words?


Comments 4

  1. As a fellow lover of words, I enjoyed this post. 🙂 I teach Adv Grammar, and I love talking to my students about how God spoke, and it WAS. What power in words–and He gave us that same power through the Holy Spirit. 🙂

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