On some level, I think, we all want to do work that's important. Work that will impact someone, tug at their heartstrings, change their lives, and hopefully in a positive way.
I've always wanted to do this kind of work, at least. To produce
something that would allow someone to see the world from another point
of view, and to question those unquestionables in their lives that they
otherwise might never notice. To make someone smile when they're feeling
down, and to make them feel liberated when they're feeling stuck.
Over the years, I've come to realize that not all important work has to
be groundbreaking journalism, science that cures diseases and puts
robots on other celestial bodies, or infusions of resources to social
programs. Sometimes the right word, spoken at the right time, can have
vital importance to a person hearing it. Sometimes a story told can
change their life trajectory, even if the pivot is a small one at first.
One of the best things about doing what I do for a living is getting to
hear from the people who read my work. This is something that authors
from almost any other time period wouldn't have been able to enjoy on
the same scale, and I'm incredibly thankful for the feedback loop the
internet provides in this respect. Hearing from people who have changed
their lives for the better because they were exposed to an idea you
proposed or a story you told is just...it's really one of the most
satisfying, gratifying feelings ever.
And, of course, one can be exposed to such things without recognizing
that both the messenger and the message are what make the latter
function. Telling stories like I do, and living life like I do, and
having the background that I have, allows me to do the work I love so
Keeping that in mind, though, there are people who I'll never reach.
People for whom my story and background and voice aren't compelling,
even if the message might be something they'd be interested in. And this
is another reason the internet is such a valuable community: it allows
anyone and everyone to speak and be heard.
Consider that, and consider what you might say; what you might want
others to know about. Consider who you might reach — people who would
listen to you, but not myself, or others. And consider what a
responsibility this is, but also what an amazing gift. What an
incredible opportunity to do important work.
Then start speaking.