Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How Do You Write with Integrity?

by Cynthia Owens 

We each have ideals that exist in our minds—things like hope, compassion, kindness, and peace. We can attempt to live by these concepts, but until we capture them in some written form, they remain fuzzy and hard to grasp. What does it mean to be peaceful? How do we live compassionately?

One of these amorphous principles is writing integrity. How do we write with integrity? How do we even define it?

I’ll tell you up front, I’m not an expert on this subject. That’s why I’m asking these questions today. I want each of us to think about what it means to write with integrity, then share our ideas and define for ourselves how we put this into practice.

Defining the Standard
When I think about writing with integrity, three things come to mind. I need to--

1. Think through my words.
Recently, I was running some errands when I saw a message on a church sign that read, “Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.” Although this short statement on the church message board sounded impressive, the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. Justice is getting what I deserve, and didn’t Jesus die to save me from my rightful punishment?

I pondered the love and justice connection all the way home and then I began to wonder—
  • Had the author thought through the implications of this statement?
  • Did he or she believe the statement stood on its own or was there a larger context that needed to be shared?

We live in an age of pithy sayings. People speak, text, and tweet in sound bites, but to write with integrity, we need to dive deeper and consider the implications of any sweeping statements we make. Is what we’re saying universally true or does it need to be put in context?

2. Know the facts.
Whether it’s in social media, article writing, or speaking with a friend—I don’t want to share, comment, or discuss a topic until I know the facts. Hearsay and interpretations don’t count. I need to study the original piece for myself, consider the source, and look for additional material.

I remember seeing a short video of one of our presidents. The 15+ seconds the commentator showed seemed to support a certain idea. When I saw another clip that showed the 30 seconds both before and after the original clip, an entirely different perspective was gained.

If we want our writing to be taken seriously, we need to do our homework. Before we share one word, we need to have a sound basis on which to stand. No integrity can be built if our readers have to question our facts.

3. Speak life.
There’s a lot of negativity that parades itself as truth. Do we need to know what’s happening in our world? Absolutely. Do we need to share it in a way that’s divisive, antagonistic, or hopeless? No.

We speak life when we discuss the hardships of this world with compassion and an eye toward potential solutions. We speak life when we invite people into discussions not division.

These are three things I need to do to write with integrity. What does writing with integrity mean to you? How do you define it? What steps are you taking to put it into practice?


Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. She runs www.TheEfficiencyAddict.com, which specializes in computer training, business organization, career development and event coordination. 

Connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Pinterest.

Organizing Your Computer for Writers and Speakers
Organizing Your Computer for Writers and Speakers is a 32-page mini book packed with tips, practical advice and step-by-step methods to help writers and speakers take control of their computing spaces. What’s inside:
  • The 5 Core Folders critical to organizing a writer or speaker’s computer.
  • Tips on why your writing or speaking files are actually the third most important files you keep.
  • What information you should be tracking for your speaking engagements and why its so important.
  • How to easily organize and later find research documents you’ve collected.
  • Free bonus materials you can download to simplify your organizing process.
Organizing Your Computer Buy Link:



  1. Great post! It seems like integrity is a dying characteristic, unfortunately.

    1. That's where we have a great opportunity, Joana, because the person who writes with integrity will stand out. Like a candle in the darkness, truth in love shines forth and draws people to it.

  2. I love how you speak life into my computer :)

    1. Ah Maureen, it's a pleasure speaking with you--and your computer!