16 Sep

Mala Naidoo is another of our talented Chief Administrators. She wrote an article titled 'Words Matter' in the How to Write for Success Literary Magazine: Second Issue. I am sharing it with you.

                                      WORDS MATTER

 We engage in daily interactions in face-to-face conversations and, increasingly, on social media. Whether we use the written or audio means to communicate, words matter, they keep us connected. 

What we say and how we say it is open to interpretation, depending on who is receiving the words created. 

As humans, we are uniquely wired with our intellectual and emotional make-up. How we react to a word, phrase or sentence differs from person to person, even those who occupy the same time bound space as we do. 

Writers’ words matter more in the perceptions we generate about who we are, the humanity of our values and, fundamentally, on our writing mission. 

Words wield the power to make or break the individual if the subtlety of language choices, the words uttered on the page carry a subtext that might hinder or harm. 

Mend your speech a little lest you may mar your fortunes ~ William Shakespeare, King Lear. These words uttered by the King were for the selfish gain of hearing his daughters’ proclamations of devotion to him, but they ring true on how misused words can create havoc marring the success one hopes to achieve. 

On the other hand, truth must be told to remain authentic as a trusted individual. Careful thought is paramount to how truths are represented. 

The spoken word carries the possibility of being forgotten long after we have felt its impact. But we etch the inked word into the memory of time. Just as we edit to eliminate errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar etc, so too we should commit to editing how we speak and write. 

The self-assessment to hold uppermost is, what is my intention? Is my message aligned to my core values? Have I achieved my intention?’ 

How do we go about ensuring that we are not the only person editing the intention, message, and achievement? It is essential to have an editor, and a string of proof-readers wired with cultural sensitivities to ensure bias, or stereotypes have been eliminated. 

This will garner a wider readership because respect accords value to the reader. The role of the wordsmith is to write from the seat of the soul, works that instils not only one’s truth but offers a validation, a sense of belonging, to the reader. Writing emerges from a deep emotional well. 

The spoken word is a reaction equally hooked to emotion. I think therefore I am, is the French philosopher Descartes well known words, but it is fair to combine this with, I feel therefore I am, for a balanced choice of the words that leave the lips or bleed onto the page.

 In a world of rapid change where uncertainty thrives, aggression and impulsiveness dominate, it is better to err on the side of caution. 

This avoids wantonly or unwittingly causing injury to another. A soft word nourishes an aching soul, heals the mind, and creates harmony. 

The words of the respected Jalal ad-Din Rumi (13th Century Persian poet, Sufi mystic, and theologian) reverberate with truth now more than ever in the 21st Century. 

Raising one’s words with compassion rather than negativity improves the human condition: Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not thunder. ~ Rumi 

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