Why You Should Become a "Socially Conscious" Writer!

Jennifer Brown Banks

“Shout, shout let it all out. These are the things I can do without!”

--Tears for Fears

Remember when popular music wasn’t merely comprised of profane lyrics, misogynistic references, and a good beat you could dance to?

Hit songs were actually socially conscious, meaningful, soulful. Many caused listeners to reflect; to ponder; to have a paradigm shift; to act.

Decades ago, “art” had a message. It was a medium for social movements and change.

Consider Marvin Gaye, who dared to explore man’s inhumanity toward man in his song “What’s Going On?” Or John Lennon in asking us to “Imagine” a world where there was no greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.

So, what does this have to do with writers? With you?

Glad you asked.

FAST FORWARD TO 2021…

Now, more than ever before, we are living in transformative, historic times. A time to change the status quo. A time to “sound off” and be heard.

Think George Floyd. The Me Too Movement. The pandemonium of a pandemic. Legalization of Cannabis. Trump's presidential impeachment. The storming of the Capitol.

For today’s writer there is so much to say; so much to “weigh in” on; so many opportunities to start a global conversation or help end ignorance, injustice and apathy.

Let’s face it: we may not be able to provide “front line rescue” like nurses and doctors in this Corona Virus age; but we can be “heroes” by healing the spirit, providing hope, influencing the masses and allowing others to escape the madness through our stories.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4MBwzn_0YYOHloh00

THE CASE FOR SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS WRITING…

Socially conscious writing is a great way to express your beliefs, educate, garner support for important causes and be paid in the process! Not to mention, it has the potential of being a positive reflection on your writing legacy and the body of work that you leave the world.

And I should know. For many years I’ve penned pieces on the lack of quality TV programs for today’s kids; on racism; on education reform; on problems with Black-owned businesses; on arts advocacy.

I’ve done it through blog posts, poetry, essays, commentary pieces and articles. To the tune of thousands of dollars.

You can too.

Use your platform to make money and make a difference.

HERE’S HOW TO APPROACH IT FOR OPTIMAL RESULTS:

1. BRAINSTORM.

2. MAKE A LIST OF TOPICS THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT.

For me that list would include: education reform, racial injustice, the spiritual implications behind the Corona Virus, freedom of speech in the age of social media, elitism, food insecurity.

3. FROM THE LIST, IDENTIFY THE TOPICS THAT ARE CURRENTLY “TRENDING” OR TIMELY.

4. START A JOURNAL TO CAPTURE YOUR PERIODIC IDEAS AND TO BEGIN TO DEVELOP YOUR OUTLINES AND ROUGH DRAFTS.

5. RESEARCH TO INCLUDE THE MOST RECENT STUDIES AND RELEVANT STATS TO SUPPORT YOUR POSITION.

6. HAVE A POSITION. HELLO? (DON’T JUST RANT). There's enough "noise" on the Net.

7. IDENTIFY POTENTIAL MARKETS.

8. LATHER. RINSE. REPEAT.

Additionally, Writersrelief.com offers the following suggestions for successful socially conscious writing.

1. Cut out condescension. If you’re writing a piece because you believe you need to change people’s minds about your subject, you might make the mistake of thinking that your audience isn’t as informed as you are about the topic at hand. Keep a keen eye out for anything that sounds condescending—and delete it.

2. Don’t oversimplify. Unless you’re writing a traditional fable, resist the urge to drive your moral point home by casting the issue in terms of wrong versus right or good versus evil. Instead, tackle complex issues with intelligence and sensitivity. Examine both sides of the issue if possible. And even if your antagonists are really, really evil, as a writer you must take care to…

3. Show compassion. The best fictional villains plan their nefarious schemes believing in their own righteousness. So the people who are on the “wrong” side of the issue in your work should be as well thought out and well-rounded as your protagonist. Let readers see the “bad guys” in your story as real, striving, yet misguided people in their own right. Learn more about writing unlikable characters.

To enhance your efforts, here are a few markets to consider pitching your work:

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS LIVING

http://www.sociallyconsciousliving.com/about/write-for-socially-conscious-brands/

THE BIG ISSUE

https://www.thebigissue.org.au/contribute/

NEW MATILDA

https://newmatilda.com/contribute/

VOX FIRST PERSON

https://www.vox.com/2015/6/12/8767221/vox-first-person-explained

ELEPHANT JOURNAL

https://www.elephantjournal.com/tips-if-you-want-your-post-to-succeed/

Final Thoughts

With this being Black History month, it's a great time to use your platform to elevate important causes, expand the "lens" by which others see the world and leave an important legacy. The time is now.

A wise man once stated: “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Words to live by.

Image credits: Pixabay.com

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL
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