What Can Writers Do During a Crisis?

Get writing — it’s time to help the world

Everyone in this world has a superpower, a role they play in their respective communities. In times of crisis, we need to use our collective powers to help those in need. For writers, that superpower is their words.

Writers have the power to influence change in people’s lives and driving emotions through this one simple method of communication: writing. In just a few sentences, a writer can illustrate hardship and struggle, or excitement and joy. They can inspire or demotivate.

You can do more than you think

If you’re anything like me, you might have felt impending doom hovering over your head when the new novel strain of coronavirus first started making headlines. As COVID-19 inches closer, you start feeling helpless. Perhaps, even useless. I know I did.

Then I read the first paragraph of PN Balji’s article. He recalls the time his editor-in-chief told him “We are paying you to make sure we avoid a major crisis. If we do fall into one, then your job is to get us out of it quickly.”

Those words stuck with me for days. Combined with the constant flow of stories about people helping each other, I realised one elementary truth: Every single person has a role to play in times of global crisis, regardless of their socioeconomic status, creed, background, or industry.

Writers hold power to change lives through the power of words. You have an immense responsibility to steer narratives — now more than ever.

How you can give back to the world with words

Words can be used to uplift, inspire, or educate. How you string your words can influence change or shift views. We can encourage people to get back on their feet or discourage them from seeking a silver lining. One sentence can make all the difference.

1. Share words of solidarity

Words are the simplest tools you can use to bring people together or to show support for others. Even though the world is now practising social distancing, many of us still reach out for contact. Be empathetic and connect with your audience. Listen to their worries. Just because we are isolated from one another does not mean we are not in this together.

2. Publish reliable information

As a content writer, maybe you’re used to writing headlines that get the clicks. As a journalist or editor, perhaps you have exaggerated certain truths. It is no longer time for that. We need to reduce people’s anxiety. We need to ensure they listen to the right advice or know the correct numbers. Fake news spreads almost as quick as the coronavirus, and we have a responsibility to make sure it ends with us.

3. Encourage others

Life as we know it has changed. Many people are going through decision fatigue right now from trying to figure out how to manoeuvre this new path properly. There are those working from home. There are also those laid off from work. What writers can do is help them go through these difficult times by providing them with information or advice that can help them stay sane.

Never stop writing

During a global crisis, you might feel like there’s no point in writing anymore. What else can be said that hasn’t been said? The answer: A lot, even if you are reiterating the same thing. You might never know who your words might reach.

You hold power to change lives and perspectives right at the tip of your fingers. Don’t give that up. Especially now. The world needs your words more than ever.

This article was originally published in Writer’s Blokke.