Saturday, 15 January 2011

Words that mark the difference

At a young age, we strive to fit in with everyone else. Trying to be normal is the common aim at school and any difference with the rest will probably trigger a complex, so we hide it to blend in with the masses.

However, as we grow older, we strive for the opposite. We seek the unique quality that will distinguish us from the rest. We no longer want to be lost in the crowds but rise above them. Both in our professional lives and our personal lives. We want to be remembered and I think this is driving force for many writers.

I've read many books and blog posts worth remembering. Each with a different idea or phrase that made them memorable. So even if those writers haven't been published or been recognized for their uniqueness, they will be remembered by those who read their work and maybe their words will make a difference to their readers at the time or in the future. Their efforts will have an impact.

When I was 12, my Spanish teacher said I wrote beautifully. I believed her at the time and her words had more influence on me than she could have expected. I felt I was good with words and it gave me the confidence to use them and try to improve the way I used them. I often wonder if she really meant it, but even if she didn't, they gave me something to exploit and pursue.  

Words said by the right person at the right time can change your life for the best. So we should always take great care over our words. We never know the influence they may have on our readers or listeners. They may mark the difference.


  1. How true! I've never subscribed to the old saying 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.'

    Words can be incredibly powerful. I've tried to be meticulous in speaking to my son as he grew up as I remember some of the unwittingly hurtful things older people said to me as I grew up.

    Those words of encouragement from an inspirational adult can spark a life interest, or completely stomp all over an aspiration.

  2. Oh yes. I remember a teacher (and it's always a teacher, isn't it?) who asked me where I'd copied my writing from. I was so upset because, of course, I hadn't. But it did make me insecure about writing for a long long time. This was the same teacher who gave me a school prize for my writing because, she said, "It was the longest". Even at 13 I couldn't believe it was a reason for a prize.

  3. I don't think I'm surprised any more at how many of us writers and aspiring writers have had similar experiences with teachers at school but tucked the writing urge away, believing the dream to be impossible till we realise we can't suppress it any longer. A lovely, true, piece.

  4. You are absolutely right. What a wonderful post to help remind folks of that fact. This newfound career of mine has given me the opportunity to meet and touch the lives of so many people that I would never have met before. I would really like to make that sometimes fleeting moment with each of them memorable...


  5. You are so right! We can make or break someone's dream with only a few syllables.

  6. You're spot on, in fact I was just writing a guest blog post about how encouraging words have made all the difference to me. I hope I can encourage others just as much.

  7. SO true.
    Just a quick 'wow, you're really good at that' can really spark some confidence in a child...and an adult! (Why do we forget to praise people when they become adults..? It's a mistake.)

    A famous actor once said to me before my 1st book came out: 'you won't remember any of the good reviews, but you'll never forget a single word of the criticism'. I've found that to be almost completely true. But one positive word from the right person at the right time can make the difference between a day when I want to give up writing, and a day when I believe in myself 100% and carry on! We all need those kind words of encouragement so much sometimes.

    So, with this in mind....Sarah, I think you write beautifully, and you're great fun to Tweet with. I'm pleased to have 'met you' and keep it up! :-)

  8. Alison, I agree with you, I find words hurt me more than physical pain.

    Sue, how could she doubt it's your work? I find it incredible, she should have known how you write from knowing you in class.

    Deb, how very sad it is when teachers should be encouraging pupils to improve their skills, not give them up.

    James, thank you. I hope you will remember them.

  9. Alex, let's hope we get the chance to make them often.

    Claire, I'm looking forward to your post.

  10. Liz, thank you for those very kind words. See, only two lines have made me happy and encouraged me.

  11. Your teacher was right, you do write beautifully!

  12. I'm with Julie - you have a wonderful way with words!

  13. Me ha encantado este post... es totalmente cierto! Besos y... sigue escribiendo, que lo haces fabulosamente! :)


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