What purpose can writers serve during times of disaster? It is true that stories can change the world. In fact some of the greatest writing came out of times filled with war and conflict.

Writing not only can heal the writer as she expresses her inner feelings, despair and hopefully ‘hope’ but it can also heal the reader of such a piece as he identifies with what is written and knows he is not alone in his struggle. But if a writer gets overly emotional or antagonistic this connection can be hard to make.[more…]

What makes great writing so transcendent? It is being objective while writing subjectively. Okay – what the heck does that mean!

When a writer does not take a strong stance on one side or the other but can be somewhat objective about a disaster or situation, s/he is able to write in a universal way. Stepping back allows you to see a bigger picture and in some cases come up with a third option when everyone else only sees two opposing forces such as war is bad / war is good. It is moving beyond dualistic thinking.

The next step is to get in touch with your emotions and opinions and see what it is you personally feel inside. Take the hurricane disaster – you could get swept up in all the blame going on and write an opinion piece like many other journalists out there or you can toss all that aside and dig deep for your personal feelings about it. From here you would find a personal metaphor to use in your writing.

Was there a look on a stranded dog’s face that touched you? Reminded you of something? Was there a smiling baby in the midst of chaos that touched you? Why? How can you relate that to the bigger picture of what is going on?

Writing can heal, writing can inform, writing can spark change and writing can entertain. It’s nice every once in a while to write to heal. You may find a deeper connection in your ‘writing to entertain’ work afterward….