Inspired By.

Today I'm thinking about authenticity. Writers have the ability and responsibility to wield words and create meaning. We can construct whole worlds of fiction and fantasy. We can give artistic flair to the everyday human experience.

And so I think to myself: whatever we do, whatever we say, however we act, should be authentic to who we are. A story, however edited and rewritten, should ring true. So I strive to live a life authentic to what I feel, and what I believe to be true. But, by my nature and because I am human, I succeed marginally at best. I get caught up in constructing authenticity. And then I lose it. I give in to the belief that this is what they'll want to read from me or this sounds better than the way it really happened or if I told them what I really think, they wouldn't take me seriously.

Do you ever do that, rearrange your thoughts around what you believe people will respond to?

Do you blog for the bandwagon? Post about things that you believe will initiate comments and page views and tweets, or do you blog about things that really matter to you, the writer?

Do you edit your thoughts and words at the expense of your true voice?

Do you edit others at the expense of the truth in their own words?

On the one hand, you write for your audience. You write to give them a thought, a moment illustrated, a word of encouragement, a benefit from your experience. But we have to strike that balance between sharing our gift with others and exercising our gift simply because it is what we are called to do.

I'm convicted by the thought that when we write, we should not just write about writing, but about our lives.

As a very wise professor I know recently explained,

Art is not about art. It's about everything else.

My blog is a blog about writing, but it is also a blog for my writing.

We can lose that authenticity and integrity for our work in a variety of ways, whether through writing about writing to avoid writing truth, or editing our thoughts and experiences to garner attention.

Here are a few posts from the interwebs that I appreciate for their authenticity.

The best reflection out of the many that were shared over the past week.

What good is a relationship without confrontation and commitment?

Is it right, or does it just feel right? How my generation deals with morality.

These bloggers are willing to share their true stories. I took the plunge and shared mine yesterday. Share yours. The world needs to witness it.

The Bravest and Most Beautiful Affair. [Heard rave reviews about the author's presentation on the importance of poetery at Story Conference today.]

Speaking of Story Conference, I only heard about it recently, but I'm heartbroken that I can't be there. On the other hand, I still get to connect with this blogging guy and this blogging girl for an early coffee date tomorrow morning. It'll be great to finally meet them in person!

And finally, a friend and I are starting a writer's group in the Elgin/Chicago Suburbs. Are you interested? Join here.

Have a good weekend, friends.

[Image Source: flickr.com via Bethany on Pinterest]


Jessica Kathryn Sullivan said...

I would have loved to go to Story Conference too! Maybe next time! I appreciate your authenticity and you inspire me to stay authentic also:) Great post Bethany. I really like the picture too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bethany, you were at STORY too! I feel like I keep finding people I didn't know were there who I would have loved to connect with!

Really loved your question here. It's a constant struggle for creatives to write as an overflow from the heart and write for the bandwagon, as you say. I don't know if you were there for Ian Cron's closing talk, but I loved that he cast skepticism and caution on "the platform" of authors. I work in the publishing industry and know as well as anyone that if you ever want to write, you need a platform. But I also believe that there is way we can write without selling ourselves out to marketing ploys, and these are the blogs that I follow. Because they speak beauty and truth, not because they're trendy and tech-savvy.

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts: