“Where do I find the hope?”

We writers are in the hope business. Aren't we?

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“Where do I find the hope?”

One of my writers shared that question in class today and it just stunned me.

She asks it of her nonprofit clients as she teaches them to put “the hope” front and center in their grant proposals. But I think we’d do well to consider it with any message we write or deliver.

“Where do I find the hope?” defines hope as “A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.”

“A feeling of expectation”—isn’t that the tension that propels a reader through what we write? And we get to shape the “particular thing” they desire to happen. That’s the point of the piece we’re writing, right? We drive them to want—or perhaps not want—a specific outcome.

But it’s not just about the technicalities of writing. Look at the bigger picture: We writers are in the hope business.

In his book TED Talks, Chris Anderson urges would-be TED Talkers to “…give the world questions and inspirations that deserve a thousand conversations.” He continues,

“It’s not about being right, or safe…so much as about having a staggering opportunity to create something that will breed further ideas.”

We can create ideas, change, hope—just by sitting down at a keyboard and letting words come out of our fingertips. “A staggering opportunity,” yes, and an awesome responsibility too.

As we head into this season of gratitude, I want to thank my fellow scribes who push past the fear and insecurity to create. Their work helps us connect with each other and the world around us. Even when that world looks increasingly bleak and scary, knowing there are people out there who see it with clear eyes and write about it honestly—that’s where I find the hope.

How about you?

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