In an era where the world feels like it’s falling apart in spectacular new ways every day, creative pursuits can feel silly and even downright meaningless. When fear, corruption, violence, and loss dominate the news cycle, why bother trying to create something beautiful, right?
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that stories don’t have any real impact, but the truth is that stories are far more influential than we give them credit for. Whether we’re talking about books, movies, plays, or even comics, fictional tales bring more to the table than just entertainment. So if you find yourself struggling to keep your creative endeavors alive in spite of the world’s chaos, here are just a few reasons why stories matter and novels matter—now, more than ever.
They Keep Us Connected
Why? Because when we tell our stories, we’re sharing our dreams, hopes, fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and wisdom. It’s easier for us to be honest on the page than in real life, and that honesty opens up the door for connection. We’re able to find solace and kinship in a shared experience. Whether it’s between the writer and the reader or amongst readers, stories give us a sense of belonging and understanding.
In many ways, stories can act as a bridge between people. When a story resonates with its readers, it creates an emotional connection that can span generations, time, and geographical distances. Think of the classics like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Catcher in the Rye; they continue to capture readers’ hearts and minds decades after their debut.
They Expand Our World
Humans tend to be habitual creatures, and we often find ourselves living in a little bubble of our own comfort and creation. Stories offer an accessible way to walk in someone else’s shoes. They can take us to places we’ve never been and help us see the world from a different perspective.
Through stories, we open ourselves up to new things and ideas that we may have never encountered. So if you’re not currently getting this kind of exposure in your reading, it may be time to seek out some protagonists that are different from you—be it culturally, spiritually, or socio-economically. You may be surprised at how much your perspective can expand by simply reading about another’s experience.
They Inspire Us
Being inspired by a book is a close-to-universal experience. Most of us have felt that awakening that happens when we stumble across a story that speaks to our soul. There’s something powerful about having that inspiration come from the written word and how it can move us to go out and do something meaningful.
In that way, stories can give us the motivation to make a difference in our lives or the lives of others. Even small deeds matter. Whether it’s as simple as more actively showing love to your family or as grandiose as quitting your job and moving across the country, stories can inspire real action—and real change.
What’s more powerful than that?
They Help Us Understand Others
A lot of frustration in this world stems from a lack of understanding. We don’t always take the time to learn where someone else is coming from, and that, in turn, can lead to a cycle of judgment and resentment. Reading stories from perspectives that aren’t ours can be incredibly eye-opening to how other people experience the world. Which, in turn, can make us more compassionate and kind human beings.
The more we learn about others, the more we’re likely to come from a place of love instead of fear. We might not always agree with different points of view, but by reading about them, we can better understand why they exist. And understanding is the first step to creating a better, more compassionate world.
They Help Us Understand Ourselves
The storylines we gravitate to and the characters we love can also teach us a lot about what lies beneath the surface. Books are a mirror, simple as that. Engaging with literature can be a kind of self-reflection, revealing pieces of ourselves and our behavior that we may not always want to face.
This is especially true when you’re penning your own novel. Whether they realize it or not, writers are often working out their issues on the page, and the act of doing so can be incredibly cathartic. Stories are a fundamental aspect of what makes us of human. Most authors won’t realize until their story has been finished, published, and put away on the shelf that the main character’s journey was actually their own.
Your Story Matters
And it’s time to tell it.
No matter what kind of story you’re writing, your words have the power to change lives—including your own. It’s never too late to start. Whether it’s challenging readers to think differently, providing a much-needed escape, or inspiring action, your story can have a lasting impact that will ripple out far beyond yourself.
So don’t be afraid to put your work into the world. And if you need a little help working through your idea and bringing it to life, click here to set up a consultation for book coaching with PDHines. We’ll help you develop your story and give you the tools to bring it to fruition.