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

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically he just loves to write.


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.


© 2018 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 04, 2019:

Thank you for reading this Linda. I agree with you totally that a lot of people do hide behind pen names, especially now with the Internet. they can be very brave if they feel they are anonymous not so if people know who they really are.

Linda Sue Grimes from U.S.A. on May 03, 2019:

John, you emphasize a useful attitude. It seems that too much space and time online is taken up by sad folks who seem to be writing only to castigate and insult under the guise of "anonymous" or "handles." Using a pen name can have a legitimate reason, but if writers are truly interested in sharing their own thoughts for genuine purposes, they should have the courage of their own conviction and supply their true identity. And writing to please others is certainly a fool's errand.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 01, 2018:

Thank you John Ray. Your kind comment is much appreciated.

Ray from Philippines on June 30, 2018:

A real writer has no pretentions. Great poem, Sir John. I loved it!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 30, 2018:

Thank you Mark. I hope the "people pleasers" take heed.

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on June 30, 2018:

Great wisdom in this poem and spoken clearly. So take heed, people pleasers.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2018:

Thanks for reading another one of my works, Shauna. Yes, above all else stay true to yourself.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 15, 2018:

Be true to yourself is the message that needs to be spread far and wide. Excellent advice, John!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 13, 2018:

That's great to hear Lawrence. Thanks for reading and sharing your own thoughts. I can invent characters that have different views to my own but they have to be defeated or have their minds changed by the end.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on June 13, 2018:


Great sentiments here, a wonderful encouragement to 'stay true'

Even as a fiction writer I find it hard to let my main protagonists have a differing outlook to me, they're my 'voice' in the story!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 07, 2018:

Thanks for reading Li-Jen. Yes, I promise to keep writing, never fear lol

Li-Jen Hew on June 07, 2018:

Hey Jodah. Keep writing! :) Glad you're writing. You make a good point..Stick to what we believe in and we're happier that way. Have to be selective.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 22, 2018:

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.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 22, 2018:

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!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 20, 2018:

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.

Suzie from Carson City on May 19, 2018:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 18, 2018:

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.

Michael Milec on May 18, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

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.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 17, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

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 from Tennessee on May 17, 2018:

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 from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 17, 2018:

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

Missy Smith from Florida on May 17, 2018:

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. ;)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

Missy, your work never fails to grab attention :)

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 17, 2018:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 17, 2018:

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 from Florida on May 17, 2018:

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. :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 17, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

Thank you for reading and agreeing with my views, Jill.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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 from Oklahoma on May 16, 2018:

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.

Jill Spencer from United States on May 16, 2018:

A thoughtful piece I wholly agree with.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on May 16, 2018:

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.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 16, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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 from Shelton on May 16, 2018:

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...

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 16, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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

Ann Carr from SW England on May 16, 2018:

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.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 16, 2018:

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.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on May 16, 2018:

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

Nikki Khan from London on May 16, 2018:

“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.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on May 16, 2018:

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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