Amanda Gorman's Inspiration Is Words & They Can Change Your Whole Life

Rachel Dillin

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Yesterday I listened to National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman as she recited her original poem at President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Her words and delivery left me stunned. At 22, I couldn't imagine having done the same thing. I spent the day learning more about her, and I listened to her interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN last night. She explained the extensive research she did to begin writing the important piece. She looked at many historical pieces, and she credited the Broadway play "Hamilton" among her sources.

One thing she noted struck a chord with me. Cooper asked her what inspired her. Amanda said that looking at beautiful scenes doesn't inspire her. Instead, she's inspired to write by words themselves. She used words she read and sentiments she saw others express as inspiration for the poetry she created to mark this moment in our country's history.

I also feel inspired by the words. In the 7th grade, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. As I grew older and more pragmatic, I realized I needed to find a way to make money writing. That's when I realized it wasn't about the final product for me. Instead, it was about the words. I liked picking words and combining them into sentences. Then, the sentences become paragraphs, which sometimes become something else.

Overall, it has always been about the words to me. Thankfully, people have paid me my entire adult life to create sentences using words. I have always said if they pay me, I will write it. That sentiment has led to jobs writing technical manuals and instructions, creating online descriptions, writing fiction, writing news stories, social media posts, and many other situations where clients need effective written communication.

When I took my master's level courses at Oklahoma State University, we discussed theories of communication. In some theories, words actually create reality. What is a chair if you don't have a word for it? Obviously, that's simplistic, but if you don't have words for something, it isn't easy to understand how to use it or how it works.

Words matter. Interestingly, the words you read, hear, and tell yourself make a real difference in your life.

A simple change in word choice with what you say to yourself can be the difference between something that's negative and something that is neutral or positive. I've always had the knack of reframing things, using the same or similar words, but in a different order or structure to create a different meaning.

Be mindful of words. Those you listen to and read, as well as those you use to talk to yourself. If you find your self-talk leaning negatively, try reframing the words to help create a different self-talk reality. If words create reality, then they are powerful enough to help you create a new reality for yourself. Words cannot fix everything that is wrong, but choosing different ones can help you begin to change things.

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TV & entertainment writer. eBook publisher. Wife. Mother of 2 children. Fitness instructor, runner, belly dancer, and amateur Astronomer. Coke Zero enthusiast.

Stillwater, OK

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