IMPACT: The Potential of Your Voice

It’s time to talk about the very real power of your potential.

Time to Make an Impact copyIn science, potential energy is the stored, untapped energy that a body has by virtue of its stressors, structure, or position in relation to its environment. It’s energy that hasn’t yet been put to use, but that potential is formidable…and measurable. Think of a baseball in a pitcher’s hand. Or a swimmer balanced on the edge of the high dive.

Now, consider the impact of a cue ball once it’s struck, shooting across the pool table to send fifteen other balls flying. That is the impact of a force that moves others. That is the impact that’s waiting in the words you’ve yet to put on the page.

By virtue of your unique experiences, worldview, and imagination, dear writer, it’s high time you realize that you are filled with incredible potential energy.

I don’t know about you, but when others speak to me about my potential, they often jump to the biggest impact they can think of. “Are you going to be the next J.K. Rowling?” is a question I’ve been asked many times. Each time someone asks me that, this is what I say:

I don’t want to mimic another author’s impact. I want to make the impact that’s authentic to my work, because I want the resulting delight, growth and change to be authentic in the world.

A Writer's ImpactThere are so many ways a writer can make an impact. Think of those balls on the pool table as your goals. Which one do you want to aim for first? Or, think of your impact in terms of your spheres of influence. What do you want your words to catalyze in your own personal growth and development? In your friends and loved ones? How about your professional network? And then there are the different communities you belong to, like your affinity groups and interest groups. Thinking bigger, consider your town, your region, your nation – and yes, of course, the world.

Thanks to my work at Philadelphia Young Playwrights, I’ve seen the words of young writers transform their relationship with their parent(s), awaken their peers to a new culture or point of view, change an unhealthy belief system at their school, or create a lasting dialogue in their community. These are writers who are seventeen-years-old, thirteen-years-old, ten-years-old, literally changing the world around them. That is incredible. That is powerful. And that is the potential that resides within us all.

Dear writer, don’t keep your potential locked inside. You matter, and your words are your energy. One sentence at a time, one paragraph at a time, one page at a time, it’s time to make your move.

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