Saturday, October 01, 2011

Three Things I Learned About Writing at a Social Work Conference – Part 2

This post details the last two lessons I learned about writing while attending the NASW-Wyoming Chapter’s Annual Social Work Conference.  If you haven’t read Part 1, go ahead and read it now.   I’ll wait! 
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page (pun intended), let’s talk about passion.
About Passion:  Recently I have read many inspiring blogs about finding passion in the task you are engaged in, and/or about writing about that which has meaning for us.  It isn’t just writers, either.  Society seems very concerned about re-igniting passion in its collective life. 
Social workers utilize a process called “reframing”, which is looking at a subject or situation from a different perspective.  Consequently, at the conference, the idea of passion was approached from a different direction.   In his opening speech, Rev. Rodger McDaniel referenced a book by French resistance fighter and concentration camp survivor Stephane Hessek titled “Time for Outrage.” He encouraged social workers to identify what issues ignite outrage inside of them, and then to strive to affect change in that area. 
Outrage is the other side of passion.  Writing a story about what you find abhorrent can be just as powerful as writing about what you love.  My own work in progress came to mind.  I began the story with the sole intention to have abusive parents receive payback for the misery they cause in their children’s lives.  Not terribly social work-y, but the abuse and murder of children by the very people who are supposed to love and protect them fills me with outrage.  The story ended up with themes about family, self-direction, and the protection of children (all of which I am passionate about), and the bad guy (read self-centered, murderous father) happens to really get it in the end.

A cover my you-know-what note to any mental health professionals out there--if I ever do have to work with a self-centered, murderous father, I will be both ethical and professional and request colleague assistance if I can’t be impartial.
About Myself:   The things that make me a social worker are also the things that make me who I am as a writer.  Any originality I have is a result of my own worldviews and personal experiences – my planet.  My writer’s voice is also the voice of the social worker-me, of the mother-me, the daughter-me, the wife-me, and the me in the various other roles I may fill.  By writing fiction, I blend those voices into harmony, and share my planet with the world.  What an amazing gift.

What fills you with outrage?  How would you like your writing to affect a change of perspective in your readers?


  1. I have had reports of trouble with the comments feature. I think it's fixed, so please give it a try! Thanks.

  2. Cindy Keen Reynders here, I hate when children are abused. With my writing, I want people to realize that they can do amazing things when they put their mind to it.

  3. It works! Until Blogger quits behaving like a Diva, you can go in under anonymous to comment.

  4. Thanks for putting so much effort into writing a comment, Cindy! I have commented on other blogger blogs, and been able to have it "stick". I hope it's not just my blog!


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