Bare Your Writer's Soul: Write What You Believe, Not to Please Others

Updated on May 16, 2018
Jodah profile image

John has many years writing experience including a Writing School course "Writing for Profit." He has written text for children's books etc.


Write What You Believe, Not to Please Others

I have always believed that honesty is one of the most desirable traits a person can have. As writers, we are not removed from that although sometimes it may be difficult depending on the type of writing you do.

If you are a freelancer, for instance, you have to write to please a client and meet their requirements or you won't get paid. As a freelance writer myself, I can relate to this, but I can proudly say that if a project compromises my beliefs or values I will always reject it. I often get requests from University or College students asking me to complete their poetry assignments for them etc. I always decline to do this.

Fiction writing is an exception. The very fact that it is called "fiction" gives the writer the latitude to write about things that contradict, and have their characters express opinions that they themselves don't hold in real life.

As a writer, it is your responsibility to promote a message to your audience and try to influence them enough to change their views or at least question things and causes that you believe in. Therefore, be truthful to yourself and don't compromise your integrity to please the majority.


Bare Your Writer's Soul

My writing is informal,

It comes from deep within.

Everything I care about

Enfolds from off my pen.

But, some readers are a fickle lot,

Their attention you must hold.

They'll say your work's not up to scratch,

Online they are so bold.

You can't please everybody,

So write to please yourself.

Express the thoughts you care about,

Don't leave it on the shelf.


So, tell me what you're thinking,

I have no crystal ball.

Don't hold back your honest thoughts,

Please reveal it all.

Criticism sometimes hurts

And rips us to the quick,

But pretending things are as they're not

Gives the truth the flick.

Please, be upfront and forthright,

Don't butter up with praise.

Constructive criticism's good

And helps the standards raise.


If you're only seeking praise

Your honesty will lack.

Be faithful to what you believe,

Don't look behind your back.

Remember you are fallible,

Though perfection is your goal.

Pour your heart onto the page

And bare your writer's soul.


Questions & Answers

    © 2018 John Hansen


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      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 2 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Chitrangada, I know you are also one who writes from the heart and what you believe in. Thank you for reading this and your kind comment.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 2 days ago from New Delhi, India

        Absolutely agree with your thoughts expressed in this article/ poem!

        And when it is written with heart, it touches hearts. This is a sound advice, for all the writers, and is applicable in our regular life as well.

        Thanks for sharing this excellent one!

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 3 days ago from Queensland Australia

        I totally agree Paula. Unfortunately many people are too scared to "spill their guts" for the world to see. I learnt that readers actually love to see you bare your soul.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 4 days ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        So, so true, Jodah. Anytime someone asks me if I would kindly "teach" them to write~~ I have to chuckle inside. I always tell them it's all so simple, so natural, just a pour-out from the soul. We all have thoughts, ideas and a plethora of emotions, so often we could share. A handle on our beautiful English language, the rules of grammar and spelling, with some unique sentence structure....".just spill your guts," my friend. The page will catch the talent of your heart and your muse will sing to the world! I believe in your words, Jodah....and I LOVE your bare soul! Paula

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 5 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Hello Michael, yes, you are so right. Honesty and sticking to your beliefs is important in all aspects of life. Thank you for your kind comment.

      • profile image

        Michael Milec 5 days ago

        Oh John, such a bold and most needed admonishment. Yes, for writers and in every aspect of life. With an exclamation, I will stick with your word " honesty is.. the most..." needed.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 6 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Yes, MzB, that is a wonderful compliment. It took a long time to "find my voice" but I am glad I have. I am glad you enjoyed this and appreciate your support and encouragement.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 6 days ago

        John, I got so enthralled by your words that I had to go back and look at the photos. I especially like the book clutter. A writer really does have to be true to self to be authentic. A greatest compliment a writer can be paid is when someone says "you've found your voice." You have a great voice in poetry, my friend.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 6 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you for that kind observation, Jo. I greatly appreciate that.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 6 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Thanks Mike. Much appreciated. I actually changed from the pictures I had originally chosen. Glad you liked these.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 6 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Haha, you are welcome, Missy. It is a wonder I even realised. I am no spelling Nazi. I have trouble with "bear" and "bare" myself and also with "break" and "brake." Yep, you got it right in your comment. :)

      • jo miller profile image

        Jo Miller 7 days ago from Tennessee

        Great advice here, John. From reading your work here on HubPages I am not surprised to learn that you are a person of integrity. Keep up the good work.

      • mckbirdbks profile image

        mckbirdbks 7 days ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello John - I enjoyed this. The pictures are also well selected.

      • Missy Smith profile image

        Missy Smith 7 days ago from Florida

        Thanks John. And forgive the misspell; it is bare not bear. Darn it! I always get those confused. lol...I never said I was perfect at grammar or punctuation by no means. Bare - to be naked, which makes much more sense in my comment, or Bear - to carry something; example - a burden. Please bear with me during my mishaps. Did I get that right? (giggles) Thanks for the very subtle correction my friend. ;)

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you Bill. Yes, I knew for a fact you could relate to what I wrote here.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Missy, your work never fails to grab attention :)

        You always bare your soul that is for sure. Thanks as always.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

        MsDora, I really appreciate your kind comment. Glad you chose that line as a motto, and enjoyed the message.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 7 days ago from The Caribbean

        Several of your lines could become a motto for me, but I choose "Be faithful to what you believe." Excellent poetry with a beautiful message."

      • Missy Smith profile image

        Missy Smith 7 days ago from Florida

        Yes, I totally agree with this. I always bear my soul without regret to lashes of insult. I do hope I can grab attention and stir emotions from many with my work, but some are perfect enough. :)

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 7 days ago from Olympia, WA

        Sound advice which I completely agree with. I have to bare my soul when I write; otherwise,there is no point in it for me.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Yes, Larry, that's exactly how I feel. You wouldn't write a positive review on a car that was a piece of crap though.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Elijah. Thank you for reading and commenting. Too many writers are afraid to reveal their true feelings and real views on many things for fear of rejection or outraging others. Now, political correctness has constricted that even more. Many readers are also afraid to give truthful criticism.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Linda, I know what you say is true and that is indeed the reason many writers "hold back." However, I have found many readers want to read about those imperfections, flaws, ugliness and pain.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 8 days ago from Oklahoma

        I would write something very boring for good money. Like an owner's manual for car, but I wouldn't write something that goes against my beliefs.

        Very thought provoking.

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 8 days ago from United States

        A thoughtful piece I wholly agree with.

      • The0NatureBoy profile image

        Elijah A Alexander Jr 8 days ago from Washington DC

        No greater truth has ever ben told, John, be it poetry, religious, since fiction or any other kind, be man enough to tell me what you think about what I'm saying.

        Thanks for your sermon on the mountain.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 8 days ago from Washington State, USA

        John, sometimes writing is so revealing, so personal. I think that is why so many writers "hold back." It's not fear of failure or criticism, nor is it humility. Writing from the soul shows all our imperfections, our flaws, the ugliness and pain within.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Frank, thanks for sharing that, and the generous comment. Don't you ever change the way you's the best.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Mary, sometimes it is difficult to put your personal thoughts on paper. I had written dozens of poems before I even showed them to anyone else let alone publish them. Once you have written and published one it just gets easier.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 8 days ago from Shelton

        I agree John I write what I damn well please... if it's good it'll stick.. if not then back to the writing board.. I enjoy your poetry and no matter the subject.. or the format.. it comes out smelling like a rose... a true poet ...Jodah...

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 8 days ago from Ontario, Canada

        Sometimes, this is my dilemna. I guard very well my feelings and rarely do they come out. Poetry seems to unleash my deepr feelings but Ifear to put it on paper. I just enjoy creating them in my mind.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        What can I say Ann, except thank you for reading my work and for your generous comments which are always so encouraging.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 8 days ago from SW England

        Yes, John, we have to bare our souls and that's not always easy, but when we do the honesty shows and we gain respect and integrity, hopefully.

        Great poem with a lighthearted but important message. I always like your poetry and I think your writing has grown immensely over the past years. You cover so many topics and always do them justice.


      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Thank you, Louise. I am glad you like that line. Appreciate you reading this.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Nikki, the very fact that a writer does have the power to change the world is precisely the reason we need to remain true to our heart. thank you for the lovely comment. God bless you too.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 8 days ago from Queensland Australia

        Hi Sean,

        Blessings brother. Thank you for the humbling comment. I am glad you feel that you could have written this poem yourself..feeling the same sentiments etc. I hope God also fulfils your wishes.

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 8 days ago from Norfolk, England

        I like the line 'Be faithful to what you believe.' That's very true.

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 8 days ago from London

        “Pour your heart onto the page,

        And bare your writer’s soul.”

        Loved these lines John, they seem to be certainly coming out of a blessed writer’s heart.A writer can actually has power to change the world through his writings.

        But a writer needs to be honest and his writings should remain true to heart to influence others.

        You are a great poet and an amazing writer John, may God bless you always.

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 8 days ago from Greece, Almyros

        Another brilliant and amazing work, my dear John! I so much agree with this; It could be my poem too, no so well written though! So I thank you so much for writing it instead of me.

        I love your gift, your talent!

        I wish God gives you everything your heart dreams!



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