My favorite author is Max Lucado. He is a New York Times best-selling author with over 70 books to his credit for the inspirational market. A few years ago, he wrote another life-changing book entitled, Outlive your Life. Just how do you outlive your life? The answer may be suggested in the book’s subtitle: You Were Made To Make A Difference.
The premise of this energizing book can be summarized with a question. Are you living your life with such positive impact that even after you die your life will influence others? It’s a sobering, yet, motivational concept. It got me thinking about you and me as writers. For example, you could ask yourself a similar question. Will your writing outlive your life?
In other words, is there anything you can possibly write today that is powerful enough, penetrating enough, to influence others tomorrow, the day after that, and years from now?
One of my favorite quotes on the power of the written word is by Scotland born, Gilbert Highet, a mid 20th century teacher of humanities in the United States. He revered authors and books as depicted in his sentiments below:
These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice…and just as the touch of a button on your set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.
Stephen King, in his book, On Writing, referred to this concept as a kind of telepathy. He used his own book as an example. He referred to the words he was writing in the book in 1997 and how they would speak to readers in the future. Those readers, at least one of them, was me. I read his book in 2015, just a few months ago, and his words struck me with the same impact he intended when he penned them 18 years ago. I felt like he was speaking to me in the present. It was like Highet’s words. I felt like I called “into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space [to] hear him speaking to [me] mind to mind, heart to heart.”
Will your writing outlive your life? The truth is you may never know if the words you craft today will engage the hearts and minds of others in the future.
But isn’t that one more reason to write them?
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