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How to Change the World by Writing

Updated on December 30, 2010

An average of 12,000 people google the words "how to change the world" every month, and over 1.2 million people google the mere phrase "change the world". Obviously, many people think the world is in need of change. Even President Obama used the slogan “Change We Can Believe In” in his presidential campaign. So how do we change the world exactly? Most educated Americans have the ability to change this world. All you need is a pen and paper, a word processor, a typewriter, or even a napkin. That’s right, any American can change the world by writing.

I once met a man who told me what to do with my life. He told me to write. / CC BY-SA 2.0 / CC BY-SA 2.0

You Can Change the World

He was an Irish Catholic tour guide, a little shy and apologetic with good morals and a strong family upbringing. He was always sorry about something or other. His storehouse of knowledge spilled out into all the rooms we walked through in the Wayside, one of the temporary homes of Nathaniel Hawthorne. We weren’t supposed to take photographs of the dark rooms filled with Hawthorne’s books and furniture and dust, but he let us anyway – it was his last year as a tour guide, after all. He had a dry sense of humor, our Irish Catholic tour guide, but he was a judge of actions not of ideas. He was alive with history, a preserver of truth, a man who understood that the words of the man whose house he was touring continued to influence the world, even years after he was dead. My brother and I were the only two young people on the tour, and when we were about to leave, the man (whose face nor voice I cannot remember) looked us in the eyes and shook our hands. “Write books,” he told us. “Write, even if it’s a side job.”

I will never forget that far-seeing tour guide, or at least, I hope I will never forget him. One never knows who one will forget or who one will remember when the days grow old and our minds grow dim. But I will never forget his words. How he knew to speak those words to me, an aspiring writer, I do not know. But I haven’t stopped writing since.

He was right: the words we write down can change the world. The question is, will it be changed for the better or the worst? That is up to us. We the writers are responsible for whether our words are truth or falsehood. We are given this unbelievable gift to pen the thoughts and ideals, not only of ourselves, but of others. What will we say? Let it be always truth that we write.

Write the Truth

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

The most important thing for a writer to remember is to write the truth. “The truth will set you free” after all. When I say truth, I don’t mean facts or non-fiction. I believe a novel can be just as filled with truth as your high school history book (and whether or not your history book was truthful is a matter of much debate). The worst kind of book is one written by a liar.


In a society where words are thrown back and forth with the utmost carelessness, the perpetuation of truth is even more important. With the internet and sites such as Twitter and Facebook, words are belittled and trampled on. We spend very little time composing our 140-character tweets or statuses that we disseminate to the world. We need to be more careful to be truthful in what we write, because words last longer than lives.

The Power of Words

Words are perhaps the most powerful things on this earth. The very words of God brought this universe, this creation, into existence. “God spoke all these words” and wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger. He recorded his words in the Bible that the way and truth of His salvation might be made known. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is even called the Word in the gospel of John.

The power of words can also be used for evil. How many have been turned astray by the lies that man has penned? How many millions were murdered because of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto? How few there are that refuse to believe the evolution that Charles Darwin wrote of in his Origin of Species! How influential has the propaganda of environmentalism been in our own generation!

When the power of words is used for good, the results can be amazing. Shakespeare lived and died centuries ago, and yet his beautiful words continue to bless and uplift those who would read them. Martin Luther wrote the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, setting the world a-tilt and aflame with reformation in the church and rebirth of the common people. The Founders of the United States penned what can be considered the world’s greatest Declaration of Independence, which formed the basis of the American spirit today. These are all examples of how good words can literally change the world for good.

Words have the greatest potential for causing great and good change in this world. We, by God’s grace, can change the world. We can use words. Words are printed on birth certificates, etched on gravestones, immortalized in song, and burned on our hearts. We have the ultimate gift, the gift of the pen. Let us use it to change this world for the better. / CC BY-ND 2.0 / CC BY-ND 2.0

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