June 17th 2019
"What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?"
I’ve been interested in the power of the written, and spoken word for most of my life. My dad was a teacher, and my mum was a librarian, so there was little chance that I’d avoid being educated.
I like to think they did a good job, and instilled in me a love for learning. But they also encouraged me to read, and read a lot. So it was no wonder that I’d be devouring books at a pretty steady pace, and I found the most pleasure in fantasy books.
By the time I was eight, I’d already read my way through the Chronicles of Narnia, and getting my feet wet with similar worlds. In fact, it was the Earthsea books that really showed just how much power words could have.
Earthsea Changed How I View Words...
Ursula K. Le Guin created a world where words, specifically names, had immense power in the hands of those who knew how to use them. In fact, if you knew the true name of something, you could change it. But rushing into learning too many names too fast, was almost the end of Ged as he summons a creature of pure darkness that seems bent on destroying him.
Throughout the series I learned that words have power, and that patience really can be a virtue. But it wasn’t until I started to work with customers that I discovered just how the right choice of word can really affect a conversation, someone’s mood, and even more…
Customer Service Is All About Words...
More accurately it’s about choosing the right words. The wrong words can easily make a bad situation worse, but the right words can turn a bad day into a better one.
Just try this little exercise. When you’re having a bad day, try to refrain from saying anything negative about how you feel. Don’t complain about your day if people ask how you are, but try to find something positive to say instead.
You might be surprised at how quickly your attitude starts to shift, and how much better the day looks. In the same way, a kind word or compliment can make someone else smile, even when they’re having an otherwise rough day.
But Words Can Change So Much More...
If you’ve ever looked through history books, newspaper articles, advertising, or even magazines you’ll have come across some of the most carefully selected words in existence.
In almost all of these cases they’re trying to sell you something, either a product, or a viewpoint. And, when the right target audience comes across them, they can even change that person’s desire for the product, or point of view.
But more importantly, words can also move you, and make you think. And that’s the realm writers live in, and yes, even we’re trying to sell you something – alternative realities. It’s our job to tale stories that make you fall in love with characters who aren’t even real, and to feel what they are going through. And if we do our jobs right, maybe we can help bring a little empathy into people’s lives.
Check Out The Rest Of The Entries
Several authors take part in these weekly blog challenges from the “Open Book” group. So, click the link below to find out how the other writers approached this question.
About The Open Book Blog Hops
“Open Book” is a group of writers who get together each week to answer some of the questions that people pose about our work.
Each week they ask the writers to write a blog post on the same topic, and then share their post with each other’s readers.
It’s a great way to get some insights into how different writers attack the same challenges in different ways.