Jan Marquart, Author

Write On!

Writing with Authenticity

Posted on | August 28, 2015 | Comments Off on Writing with Authenticity

jan-smallI was asked to speak to a group of writers about two years ago and to bring the many books I had written. I had a memoir, two novels, three writing books, and more. As I was describing each of my books to the group of writers one of the women bitingly asked me: “Are there any books you didn’t write about you?”

I  quickly dropped into a place of shame as if writing about myself meant something was wrong with me and couldn’t write them right. I took a breath and looked at her then answered quite emphatically, “NO.” How could I do that and why would I want to? Writing is a way of honor my personal experiences. It is a way to stay authentic. My books are about life, my life, how my life experiences can offer you a certain perspective, how hard times still have paths leading out of them, and that with courage and vulnerability you can lead your life into a place of satisfaction. Even my novels draw upon my own experiences or how else would I be able to write and make my message authentic?

This particular woman was in the thick of writing a memoir and quite stuck in her writing. As I saw it she was not stuck because she had an awful use of the English language but because she refused to drop deep into her own narrative and tell her story in all its bold and fascinating truth. She was afraid of her own story. Perhaps she was afraid someone would ask her what she asked me. Everything we write, everything we live through, everything we desire or don’t has to do with a connection to our own life. Nothing can be removed from our personal narrative, nothing.

So, is it the case that all my books reveal something directly or indirectly about my life? Absolutely. Can my stories also be about your life? Absolutely? Can I write about something of which I know not? Hell no! Does putting your writing ‘out there’ increase vulnerability? Yes!

There will always be critics who would rather pull you apart when you are falling to your knees and again when you have made it out of the darkness. I show up for my life. I share my vulnerability. I move away from those who like to kick me when I’m down. I found a fleeting sense of courage and I like it. I like not pretending. I still fall. And I still get up and I’ll still share it, like it or not.

Until next time,




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