Words are tools. Words are the concrete we use to establish the foundations of society, the bricks we use to build it up, the chisels we use to refine, and the bulldozers we use to demolish. Words are powerful, and sometimes we either forget how to or simply neglect to wield them to the extent that we are able.
The most evident way I see this happening is failing to use words to affect change in the world around us in a way that really matters. Writers, I'm looking at you (and myself) in particular because we are the ones with the most interest in and capacity for using words as tools; however, I'm noticing more and more that we neglect that opportunity and capability and settle for writing about the trivialities of life instead of events, people, and ideas that matter most.
I want to qualify my ideas by saying that I see the benefit of writing about trivial, "fluffy," if you will, topics, and that I am just as guilty of doing that as anyone else. Sometimes it's fun to write about things that make you smile, like otters holding hands and other fun facts, which I have done. Sometimes it's cathartic to write an open letter to everyone who thinks you shouldn't have make a choice you did and tell them why they're wrong; I didn't do that, but many times I have started an article about the ridiculous, unwanted comments people offer when they learn that you're getting married young, only to abandon the idea because it's honestly overdone. Why not write about why you're friends rock, why your major is the best, or why you love a certain celebrity? There's no harm in that, right?
Truthfully, no, there's nothing inherently wrong about that. Pieces of writing about happy things are more fun to read; it's why I am much more likely to click on a news story about twenty times Kate Middleton was a great mom or made impeccable fashion choices than one about another global crisis. However, if you only write fluff, there is a problem. You're cheating yourself, I'm cheating myself, and we're cheating our readers. Writers, words that you speak, type, and pen have the power to provoke people to consider new ideas, take a stand, or support or oppose a cause. That's an incredible privilege and responsibility, and it need not be shirked or ignored.
Everyone has something that they are passionate about, something that sets a fire in their soul and gives them a purpose. Writers, in particular, possess the incredible ability to convey passion on paper. Whether it be a novel or short story, a poem, a blog, a journal article, or any other type of writing, writers make readers feel things, and feelings make people do things. The power of words is their capacity to influence others.
Writers, write about what you are passionate about. Write your ideas about the world around you. Write about what you think is awesome, but write about what you want to see altered as well. You owe it to yourself and your potential readers to be real, raw, and purposeful. Use the power of your pen; I hear it's quite a weapon.