Let’s talk about honesty in writing. Have you ever read a poem or prose piece that didn’t quite ring true? Maybe you couldn’t tell exactly when or where, but the piece felt flat or unsatisfying. Forced or false. The language might have been overly flowery or obviously coarse. Writers sometimes overlook how smart readers tend to be. Readers have almost a sixth sense about what the writer is up to.

We as writers must respect our beloved readers enough to give them something real. We want to invite them to follow us in this solitary journey. After all, where would we be without them?

How do we write from a place of honesty? Here are some of the questions I ask myself before sending my work into the universe:

  • Is this genuine? Am I present in the work with some risk involved?
  • Am I writing to learn or find some possible solution?
  • Am I experiencing something here in a fresh way?
  • Am I seeing or showing something through a new lens or filter?
  • Is this a cliché? Can I say this in a more unusual and interesting way?
  • Is my language clear and concise? Do I make a point or conclusion of some sort?
  • Is this showing off or something true in itself?

In a way, we write to fail. We write to reach something impossible.To turn ourselves inside out and muck around with what’s there. I rejoice when I come upon an honest effort to communicate from a place of humility and sincere desire.

So do the editors of the publications we admire.

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