The Weight of Words

by Ava Pennington

 

scale

Do you know the answer to this old riddle?

Q: Which weighs more: a pound of bricks or a pound of feathers?
A: Neither. They both weigh the same.

Silly, I know. But I’ve been thinking a lot about weight lately. And no, this has nothing to do with the pants I no longer fit into. Since my hubby has been ill, he’s been unable to carry heavy items as easily as he did previously. So even though a bag of pine bark weighs the same as it did last year, it’s heavier for him today.

In our gravity-controlled world, anything with mass has weight—anything from feathers to bricks.

But have you stopped to consider the weight of words?

As writers, the words we publish have influence beyond what we might imagine. Consider the weight of our words related to:

The Internet

Some of us are “pre”-published. That is, we may still be waiting for that first book or magazine contract. So we post on our own blog or we guest-post on other blogs. But our words are still out there, floating around the internet, influencing readers far beyond what we might imagine.

We need to remember that once something is posted in the virtual world, it never goes away. We can delete it or shut down the site, but it’s still out there. Perhaps your words were copied and pasted to someone else’s blog. Or they printed it and used it in a message or as a quote in their own writing.

Books and magazines

You’ve finally received that elusive contract. Someone is paying you to communicate your words. Your book might sell 5,000 copies, 10,000 copies, or more. Your magazine article might be included in a periodical with a circulation of several hundred thousand.

And because you have been published, your words have gained authority. Authority that others will respect and value. Authority that will be quoted and applied.

Children

Writing for children carries an especially heavy weight. Our words influence young, impressionable lives. Parents trust us enough to purchase our publications for consumption by their own children. How many of us have been shaped by the books we read when we were a child? Can you remember specific lines from your favorite childhood books?

I’m reminded of Jesus’s admonition, “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6 NIV). Surely the words we write for children carry great weight.

Ourselves

Last but not least, the words we write influence ourselves. The printed words reflect our heart. Who are we in the Lord? Where are we in our journey with Him? How are we growing? How are we not growing? The answers to those questions are revealed in the material we write. Are we willing to read our own words to hear what the Lord is saying to us as well as to our readers?

Yes, words have weight. Let’s handle them with care.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “The Weight of Words

  1. Loved this reminder this morning, Ava! Blessings to you on your words and how you’ve encouraged us today.

  2. I always tell my clients to remember children believe what they read. That’s why I’m so strict when I’m editing. And I get downright mama-bearish when the story is teaching Biblical truths. Our words will either draw children to Jesus or push them away. It’s a heavy responsibility.

    • Yes, Pam. I so agree. And I love how you phrased that: “Our words will either draw children to Jesus or push them away.” Truth!

  3. So very true! Thanks.

    I really enjoy the W2I! Blog except for one thing. I never know who actually writes each post. Can you put the name of the contributor at the top?

    Thank you!