The Art of A Wordsmith

They say with great power comes great responsibility. That’s a quote more associated with powerful positions  where many things rely on that person.You wouldn’t necessarily associate that with a writer because we work with words or at least that is what I thought.

Since putting my writing skills to use as a journalist I’ve discovered first hand just how a great a power it is to be able to have your way with the written word.

This revelation came to fruition in a big way last week when I covered a local high school event. The previous week I had done a feature story on a teacher from said high school who was entering their last year as a teacher. They were a magnetizing person and I tried to capture that in the story.

When the story went to print, I just imagined it like all the others, people would read it, appreciate it, and that would be it. What I hadn’t counted on was the response I would receive.

While covering the high school event I had several members of the community approach me to tell me how much they loved the piece. Praise even came from the subject of the story, it was the first time I ever had anybody I wrote about comment on my depiction of their story.

It was at this moment that it all clicked. I realized just how much power I possessed with my ability to bend and mold words to my liking to convey ideas, events, and people. I have the power to be a storyteller and what would the world be like without stories?

Encapsulating a person’s entire life into roughly 500 words is a challenge perhaps I was not originally aware of when I set to the task. People like that teacher have done countless things in their lives and have so many vibrant memories to tell. How does one tell that with such a word count? Or even beyond that, how does one give justice to someone’s life with words in the first place?

With all these questions it became evident that being a wordsmith is a daunting task. You want to do your subjects justice by depicting all of what should be written all the while keeping in entertaining for the reader. It is a delicate balance which is where the great responsibility comes into play.

A great deal of what we know about history is through the words of past wordsmiths and while I’m not saying anything I’ll ever write will measure up to the likes of Benjamin Franklin I’d like to think of myself as trying to accomplish the same things he did.

Every word I write is important because it stands to inform somebody somewhere about something. With this revolutionary epiphany, I truly realize just how important my words are.

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