New Year’s Revelation No. 3 of 7: Stand by what you say and what you do

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” 
― Frederick Douglass

Authenticity. 

When we say something, we shouldn’t have to feed an impulse to waver or retract our words. Why? Ideally, we should think before we speak, choose our words wisely and then say what we want to say…. and own it.

In reality, we sometimes “insert foot in mouth”, speak hastily and instantly regret the words. They’re still our words, so we need  to own them… and, if need be, apologize when we speak in error or haste.

The same  applies to our actions. We should always think before we act but, regardless, we must own our actions.

There are always consequences to anything that we say or do. There is no such thing as “off the record.” 

When we own what we say and what we do, we are being authentic and with authenticity, comes clarity.

When we own what we say and what we do, it diffuses conflict and encourages civility.

Also, it feels so damn good to be our authentic selves, doesn’t it?

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

Integrity.

We must always strive to speak and act with integrity. 

When we speak and act with honesty, our words and actions are met with respect (even the people who may not agree with us, will nevertheless respect the honesty behind the words and actions).   

When we speak  reasonably and act fairly, our words and actions hold more weight.

When we make a promise or commitment and honor our word, we have integrity.

Integrity should be the foundation beneath everything we say and do.

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.” 
― Dr. SeussHorton Hatches the Egg

Belief.

When we speak and act on the strength of our own beliefs/convictions, we are saying and doing exactly what we mean to say and do.

What we say and do are a reflection of our own beliefs and truths.

Whether these  beliefs and truths are popular or not, conform to other people’s beliefs/truths or not… is entirely irrelevant.

What is relevant is that we are saying exactly what we mean to say and doing exactly what we mean to do… and are fully prepared to  accept the consequences.

Let the chips fall where they may.

At least we can stand tall, confident in the knowledge that we are being true to ourselves.

Authenticity.  Integrity.  Belief.

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Be who you are. Say what you mean. Act on your beliefs.

Woman
“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” 

− Clarissa Pinkola Estés

8-24-2013 12-31-34 AM

Image via fortynineandholding.com.

Writing in an Authentic Voice

exam6

“Believe in yourself and in your own voice,

because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does.

Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice

will often have trouble at the start of his or her career –

because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous.

 But in the end, only the strong survive.”

―  Jayne Ann Krentz

Most writers are blessed (although some would say, cursed) with the uncanny ability to see through another person’s outward façade, body language and emotional barriers.  Good writers are keen observers.  We watch. We don’t just listen, we hear.  And we notice – everything. Then, we write.

Similarly, a voracious reader opens up a book, in anticipation of a good read – expecting to be transported into someone else’s words, someone else’s thoughts. The reader has high expectations. He or she  wants to soak up all that the writer has to say. But when the words seem forced, when the thoughts do not ring true – the reader is left deflated and unsatisfied.

It all boils down to one word:  Authenticity.  When a writer is ready to commit his or her observations, experiences, life lessons and creativity to paper, it must be done clearly and in an authentic voice.  If the writing is not authentic, the reader will detect it in a flash. If a story appears forced to the reader, it is forced.

Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.

A writer should never worry about being popular.  We can’t please everybody.  There will always be those who take umbrage at what we say.  Conversely, there will be just as many who will champion us. One has to be philosophical about the whole writing experience.  When we are true to ourselves, when we write in an authentic voice – we should be happy with the end result.

However…

… this should not preclude us from exercising the art of self-restraint.  When a writer is passionate (and believe me, I know whereof  I speak), it becomes an interesting balancing act of saying what needs to be said, yet reigning the words in a tad – to avoid rabid repetition. 

A word to the wise:  gather together an unbiased focus group of people and have them read and critique the manuscript. Heed their feedback well, without taking it personally.  Then, apply it.  We are all classmates in a lifelong Continuing Education program. The objective must always be to learn and to keep on learning, until we are dead and buried.

On that lively note, I shall bid you all Godspeed as you continue your writing journey.

Be true to yourself and to your craft.  The best is yet to come.

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