All the readers and writers I know agree that words are powerful tools, and that they can, indeed, bring about great changes in individual lives, communities, and entire cultures. However, wielding words effectively is a skill that even those with a natural gift for writing may fine-tune and improve with guidance and feedback from their peers.
Writer/therapist/activist Mary Pipher offers clear and practical advice for discerning appropriate forms and tones of writing to convey information, communicate ideas, and convince readers of the truth and importance of the issues being discussed. She shares insights from her broad range of personal experience, from counseling troubled adolescent girls, to working to preserve an unspoiled prairie, to helping immigrants adapt to American life; giving examples of techniques that achieved their goals, as well as approaches that failed. She also addresses adapting written words to effective speeches, the particular power of poetry and music, and the potential ramifications – both positive and negative – of instant electronic self-publication.
While some of Pipher’s tips are geared specifically toward writing as an activist, most are applicable to most types of writing, and seasoned professionals as well as novices may find something of value to glean from this book.