Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Power of the Written Word

By Betty Thomason Owens

“There are so many wonderful writers out there…how can I possibly compete?”

I’ve heard this repeated, in some form, over and over since I started my writing journey. Yes, I’ve said it often. But I’m not the only one. I read it this morning on Facebook. I hear the writer’s heart’s cry in those words, and I’m wrenched as well. More than anything, they want something in their writing to resonate with the reader, catch the heart and eye of an agent, or publisher. They want to be accepted, receive a contract, see their work in print. A dream come true.

I guess that’s what we all want—acceptance—writers ache for it. They crave it. You see, there’s power in the written word.

Can you create the image you’ve imagined? Can you, using the written word, construct a scene well enough that a reader sees it, feels it, tastes it, hears it? So that all five senses are in play?

Together, Lucas and Spielberg created a universe, populated it with planets teeming with life. They created something so real, we felt we were there. From that very first moment when that huge starcruiser rushes overhead, we are hooked.

It all began with words written on paper.

George Lucas is a genius in many ways. But he’s not alone. He isn’t the first, and he won’t be the last. We first hear of the principle of creating with the word in Genesis. “In the beginning God…And God said…” (Genesis 1:1-3 NIV)

Who will be next to create a blockbuster? To take an empty, white screen and fill it with words that grab onto our senses and pull us into a story that leaves us breathless? It could be you, if you don’t give up.

Betty Thomason Owens writes the
Legacy Series and the Kinsman-Redeemer
series. Learn more at her page on
When we, the created ones, become creators, we are only imitating our maker. As writers, our medium is the written word. We are artists, creating a masterpiece. We hope. But just like all forms of art, there are those who are truly gifted, and then there are those who try really hard. But don’t be discouraged. I’ve seen some art that looks like it was created by a toddler, yet it’s worth millions.

It begins with an idea. A spark, that gets our imagination juices flowing. Using words on paper, we build the idea into a scene. We layer in color, create images, and emotion. Conflict, cause, and effect. It comes to life. The characters could walk out of the story, sit down next to you, and you’d recognize them. Their conversations pull you into the moment. You root for the heroine, fall in love with the hero. And when you reach the end, you know the satisfaction of a story well told. You hope and pray your readers will agree.

Even if you never achieve a blockbuster hit on the New York Times bestseller list, the highest praise can come from your readers. “So what happens next? I can’t wait for the sequel.” They’re hooked. 

That’s the power of the written word.


Gail Johnson said...

A lovely and uplifting post, Betty. I think we all need to hear some encouraging words now and then. When writing, we spend a lot of time alone--a fertile ground for discouragement if we aren't careful. Sharing our own experiences helps others who are fellow-travelers on this journey. Thank you for sharing.

Deborah Dee Harper said...

Great post, Betty! I'm sure we have all felt that need to be heard and appreciated, but above all, to impact someone's life in a positive way.


Jennifer said...

Love this. You're so encouraging...

Betty Thomason Owens said...

Thanks for the comments, Gail, Dee, and Jennifer!