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Friday, April 27, 2012
Are Writers Leaders? - Eleanor Shepherd
Recently, I read somewhere, on the
web and I cannot remember where, that as writers we are leaders.I have to admit that I do not like that
idea.I believe and hope that what
I write will be of benefit to others, as it is to me, but I do not like to
think that by writing I am setting myself up as a leader.I am not sure if the problem is in my
understanding of what a leader is or what a writer is.
have been churning these ideas around in my head and trying to understand if as
a writer I do have some responsibility to be a leader, much as I feel that puts
pressure on me for excellence.
a couple of days ago, I came across a post linked to one of my online writing
groups that gave some specific characteristics of a great leader and I found
that they are also relevant to what it means to be a writer.The post is by Catarina Alexon, an
international businesswoman and writer.Here are some of her characteristics of a great leader:
·A strong set of values and openness, trust and
true respect for others.
I believe a writer must have these
characteristics.If we do not have
a strong set of values, our writing is weak and does not provide any
intellectual meat for people to chew on.Without openness, trust and respect we will not listen to others and
thereby test our ideas against their experience.When we fail to do that we risk writing irrelevant prattle
that is poor stewardship of the gift that has been entrusted to us.
·Genuine humility and not afraid to show
In my opinion, this is what makes
our writing credible and allows others to feel the common bond of our
humanity.I think that genuine
humility can be quite elusive for us, as it is easy for us to take a humble pose,
without really being honest about our doubts, fears and misgivings.I think this is particularly true for
Christian writers.We sometimes
feel that by admitting that we do not have it all together we are suggesting
that in some way the Lord we follow has failed us.In our saner moments, we become aware of the absurdity of
such thinking that somehow equates our inadequacies with divine activity.We also walk a tightrope between being
vulnerable and exposing unresolved inner conflicts that are better resolved
exhibitionism when it focuses on the writer rather than the principles
·Regularly reflect and have an unquenchable
thirst for learning.
If as writers, this is not a part
of our lives, the well will soon dry up and we will have nothing of consequence
to say.Probably one of the things
I love most about reading and writing is to be able to explore ideas and try to
fit them into my constantly growing and changing worldview.These are part of the integration of my
personality in all areas, physically, emotional and spiritual.For me, this is one of the greatest
gifts of writing.
still am not sure if writers are leaders.I understand a little more clearly that what we do as writers is try to
articulate some of the process that takes place, as we become more fully
integrated human beings.Some do
this through the exploration of plots and characters in fiction.Others do it through the unique
expressions of language provided by poetry.I prefer to work through my thoughts using the ideas verbalized
as non-fiction.Some highly gifted
writers use several different formats.Does that make us leaders?Perhaps it does in the sense that we put forward thoughts that can stir
others to reflection and to action.