Integrity. Webster’s Dictionary describes the word as “a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic value.” Integrity applies to all areas of one’s life from relationships, work ethics, and being true to ones authentic self. As a writer, integrity means to make use of ones creative energy from the heart to the paper– make it real and honest for the reader while using any creative skill to pull them in.
My best writing is done when I write from the heart and soul of my core. The words compose themselves like some phantom who works across the keyboard. My fingers are just the tools to get the thoughts on paper to my readers. At times my writing is used as a tool to get my head on straight and be authentic to myself and to quit bullshitting the most important reader- myself.
One’s own lack of creative integrity can be an honest, but hurtful thing at times of self-discovery as a writer. Looking inside oneself can show a lack that isn’t always an easy road to drive. Many times I have wanted to get on a Vespa and just take off down a different road to a new change in my writing life, but when I think of it in more serious terms, that road doesn’t take me anywhere unless I fill my suitcase with the core values of who I really am– my authentic self.
Of course I have the moral code Webster describes. This isn’t the integrity I am speaking of. Lying to myself isn’t integrity. Lying to my heart isn’t integrity. Lying to my lover or friend while putting on a false face isn’t integrity, and writing words that mean nothing more than strokes on a keyboard isn’t integrity.
Someone recently asked me what kind of writer I am. I pondered that thought for a long time. I write childrens stories, I write adult fiction, I write some sexually charged fiction on the edge of porn, I write silly nonsensical fiction for the fun of it, but I also write business reports and create new programs for my company. I am a writer of all these things. They are all a part of who I am. They describe who I am as long as I am honest in my creative integrity. I can’t be whom I’m not. I can’t write poetry or scientific journals, nor do I want to. To do so would not be me, and so I write what I feel, I sense, I smell, I touch. I write about love and childhood dreams and adult fantasies. It’s all me.
I have taken that ride on my imaginary Vespa, and I made a lot of wrong turns trying to fit into someone elses ideal of who I should be as a writer, a woman, a friend. Integrity to myself is what leads me down the right road and on my most successful creative travels.