We Americans write our own history. And the chapters of which we’re proudest are the ones where we had the courage to change. Time and again, Americans have seen the need for change, and have taken the initiative to bring that change to life.
If luck is ability meeting opportunity, you are part of the luckiest generation of writers who ever lived. If you want to write about creating change, you have the biggest opportunity writers have ever had. The problems our communities, states, country, and planet face continue to grow, as does the gap between what government and nonprofit organizations can do and what must be done to ensure our future.
Writers are needed urgently to provide the hope, vision, guidance, and inspiration to act that humanity needs to thrive. Writers have the creativity, independence, and the ability to
- research, organize, and write about their ideas
- test and promote their work
- build communities of people eager to help
And they have the power of technology, the greatest gift to writers since the printing press, to accelerate and amplify their efforts. Al Gore did a thousand talks in high schools before An Inconvenient Truth was published or the film about it was released. A Vice President has access to audiences and the media that new writers don’t, but writers can use all of the media to communicate their message. Gore’s efforts changed the public’s perception of the problem and led to new initiatives to solve it.
What nobler challenge can writers ask for than helping to solve the problems that threaten our children? Readers and publishers want books that foster change. Small houses, niche presses, and university presses are less concerned about an author’s promotion plan than big and midsize houses. You may want to self-publish your book, if only to test-market it. Sell enough copies and publishers will coming looking for you.
If writers don’t do all they can, who will take their place? So find a need and help fill it. Pick a problem you’re passionate about and dig in. Contribute to the most vital conversation on earth. You can accomplish far more than you think you can. And as Thomas Friedman wrote in Hot, Flat and Crowded, you have just enough time if you start now.
Many thanks in advance for sharing this blog with activists and with new and published writers!
The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Changing the World One Book at a Time / November 13-14, Hilton Financial/Chinatown / www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America)
Huge thanks to Linda Lee for upgrading the blog!