Saturday, August 10, 2019

Be a Writer Who Dares to Write with Honesty

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

“Writing has made me more honest.”

My statement surprised me, even as it rang true.

I was out on an impromptu date with my husband, Rob. The conversation had turned to my writing life—the ups, the downs, and the constant choice to trust God with this hard work of living my dream. 

And somewhere, in the midst of it all, came this moment of clarity: the reality that choosing to be a writer demands I live an honest life.

We writers talk about learning our craft. If we’re novelists, we attend conferences and take workshops on dialogue and setting and characterization. Whatever side of the writing road we walk along, we study the rules so we can break ‘em. We search for our voice until we recognize the sound of it in every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter. 

Doing all of this makes us better writers. Possibly even award-winning writers. (Awards are fun, y’all!)

But what gets me every time is when another writer dares to put from-their-heart-honest words on the page. That kind of writing makes me stop and think, “I want to write like that.”

Sometimes what I’m reading is as simple as a Facebook or Instagram post. But it’s not a social media post masquerading as Mary Poppins, where a person’s life – past, present, future – is practically perfect in every way. 

And then there are the times I read a nonfiction book, and the writer dares to be candid about their struggles. Or I read a novel, and the author’s imaginary characters are living real life on the page. I’ve struggled with that pain, cried those tears, regretted those choices.  

And then … then there are the times I choose to write like that. I decide I write honest.

Yes, it would be easier to hide behind my words. But story is an opportunity to connect with our readers. And if we’re going to connect, why not risk enough to connect in a genuine way?

Is it scary to write honest? Yes. There have been times I’ve written a scene that’s a direct reflection of my heart – pulled from my life – and I’ve second guessed myself. Wondered if it’s too honest. Too much. Times when I’ve pushed away from the computer to cry. To pray. And come back to write.

But it’s a choice of either living out loud as a writer … or whispering. And the writing life should never, ever be about whispering.

And so, I ask you: What choice are you making with your words? Are your written words whispers? Are you living out loud and writing honest?


Award-winning author Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, Beth's first women's fiction novel with Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters Series, releases May 2019. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. I could not agree more! Thank you for your "honest" post, Beth! Connecting with the deepest parts of our hearts is often painful because we may not like what we see there. But when we do connect with those deepest parts--and then share them with our readers--we discover that God uses that transparency to heal not only our own souls but the souls of our readers as well.

    Blessings to you as you write for King Jesus!

    MaryAnn Diorio
    "Heart-Mending Books for the Young and
    the Young-at-Heart"

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I tend to hold back because of fear of rejection. However, I have written into my WIP’s some scenes of abusive behaviors I experienced in a previous relationship, but after giving it more thought, I went back and softened the scene or took it out completely. I write romantic suspense. Maybe blogging is the better choice for honesty. It just makes me a little nervous revealing insight into my past. What do you think?

    1. Loretta: Writing honestly doesn't always mean writing exactly what happened. When I write fiction, I can write the truth -- the emotions, the pain and the healing -- into the fictional lives of my characters without writing the specific details of my life. And even when I blog, I am honest, while respecting others' involvement in the story.

  3. ... to living our lives on page Ms. Beth. What an inspiring and candid post ma'am. I'm not sure this is the right way to "platform build", but I've decided that if I am not honest with what I write, then how can I ever ask someone to trust me enough to follow me. Putting our heart, emotion, and soul out there is risky for sure, but I'm convinced the reward far outweighs the risk. I try to live my life WYSIWYG. Am honored to see that you do also ma'am. God's blessings.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, J.D. And it doesn't surprise me that you write honestly, too.

  4. In writing and spoken words and actions, I pray we all show His love.