Another installment in the series of posts of the WCWW scholarship contest winners and runners-up! Today’s post is written by Lana Phillips, one of our scholarship runners-up. Enjoy!
When I first read about the “World Changing Writing Workshop,” my heart stopped. I mean literally! After it fluttered back into its beat, I knew that this workshop could not only change the world at large, it could change my little corner of it.
I’ve spent my entire adult life looking to make the world a better place. I majored in psychology while in college, but I couldn’t forget how much I loved reading and writing, so majored in English as well. Since I graduated in 1989, I’ve worked with children and families who live in an inner city area of the South, helped people obtain food stamp assistance, worked in a homeless shelter, gone back to school for a Master’s degree, and spent several years lost in my own depression.
It was through hitting my own “bottom” that I turned back to the one thing that had always brought me comfort, and that one thing was writing. Suddenly I learned that not only could my writing bring ME comfort, it could bring others comfort. But when I realized that my writing could challenge others to change their lives, it began to change mine as well.
Then I met the love of my life and moved to Canada. I wrote for every small community publication I got the chance to and did my best to write persuasively enough to get people to get off their butts and take action. Sometimes I felt as though I achieved my goal, sometimes not, but at least I was trying. But I lacked knowledge of the keys to world-changing writing. I didn’t know how to find and grow my right audience. I didn’t have a consistent writing practice that worked for me. I wrote when I found something that, as we say in the South, “burned my britches.” That wasn’t enough to change the world. But writing has always been comfortable for me, and I try always to write from my heart.
I’m “back in the trenches” now, and my experiences of supporting people with disabilities, men and women who are trying to change their lives after being released on parole, young people who are in trouble with the law, while dealing with my own disabilities and depression, have made me realize that while one-on-one work with people in need is valuable, it’s reaching people on a wider basis that can have earth-shattering potential. I want to find my writing niche and spread world changing ideas to inspire and move people to make things happen.