All Revolutions Are Undergirded by Writing

All Revolutions Are Undergirded by Writing

Why I want to help writers write.

Have you seen Hamilton?

Then you know the earworm of a song, “Nonstop.”

“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”

“Why do always say what you believe?”

These are questions asked of the insanely prolific Hamilton who wrote and wrote and wrote to undergird both the American Revolution and the early features of this brand new country.

They were doing something that had not been done before. It took philosophy, and philosophy takes communication, which is writing.

Before Hamilton, it was the writing of Paine, Locke, Rousseau, and others that planted the seeds of freedom in the minds of the colonists.

I recently read about the life of Samuel Adams in Stacy Schiff’s great book, The Revolutionary Samuel Adams. Like Benjamin Franklin, Sam Adams loved to write letters in the local papers under fake names in order to shape the public opinions.

It struck me that this was a lot like social media of today. We think we invented the polarizing outrage machines because we have Facebook and Twitter, but these guys were masters at spinning situations with words meant to fire up the citizenry and cause revolution. It was unsettling to read about, actually.

And can you imagine Christianity without the writers? Mark, Paul, Peter (among others) wrote, and if they hadn’t, where would we be? We have been utterly shaped by Paul’s understanding of Jesus and the gospel message.

This brings me to the point: Nothing changes without writers.

If you think something is important, I beg you, please write. Especially if you are noticing something that not many people are noticing.

We need to see what you’re seeing. Maybe you’re wrong, and we’ll tell you. In that case, you need to see. But spreading truth is the key to all change for the better.

What if I’m Not a Good Writer?

If you don’t think you are a good enough writer, then start writing. Practice and you will get better. I don’t think I started out writing very well, but I practiced.

Here are three ways to practice that have worked for me:

  1. Write a ton. One thing you might try is setting up an account on Fiverr or Upwork and selling yourself cheap for a while. You’ll make a little money, but most importantly, you may learn to write.
  1. Find writing you love and know to be considered amazing, and carefully copy it in your best handwriting. Read it aloud 20 minutes a day. The rhythm and sentence pattern will get into you. The bonus is that it is meditative, which is always helpful in teaching you to be present. Good writing is mindful writing.
  1. Find a partner or two to get feedback. My own students say routinely that this was a valuable part of being in one of our cohorts.

Just like Hamilton, you are running out of time.

Even if you live a long, fulfilling life (I pray you do!), you can only write so much in one life. Get busy and let’s change the world!

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