How to Write With Integrity

    write with integrity - Mary Pickford

    We all have the opportunity to be spiritual pioneers in some way. When you put relationships before results, live with integrity, and care about how your actions affect the greater community, you too add spiritual value to the world. ~ Cheryl Richardson

    Whether you blog to express yourself, to share information, make money or entertain, it makes sense to do it with honour and integrity. How can you check in with your integrity-ometer to see if that’s what you’re doing?

    • Are you willing to risk losing readers by telling the truth, in your posts and in your comments?
    • Are you scared to stay silent for a few days?
    • Do you form alliances simply on the basis of their usefulness to you?
    • Are you pandering to your audience by day but tossing and turning at night, feeling you’ve sold out?
    • Do you really believe in fostering a sense of community or are you stat-building by the back door?
    • Do you skim blogs you don’t enjoy, simply to leave a comment?

    If any of those gave you inklings of ickiness in your gut, read on.

    Who are the spiritual pioneers in your feed reader?

    Write to Done has been one of my favourite blogs since its creation. Mary and Leo’s pieces embody what authentic leadership means.

    As people, they represent the power of forming strong alliances built on resonance and friendship; they harmonise with and complement each other.

    As professionals, their aim has been the ultimate win/win – to empower other writers. No-one with fierce egos would ever consider doing this.

    Sean Platt and Dave Wright at Collective Inkwell have managed this ego-less marriage of minds too, by co-creating a serialised work of fiction and a new community of writers.

    Some pioneers blaze new trails, profit from their innovations but manage to make people feel like fresh flesh at a vampire fest in the process.

    Spiritual pioneers, on the other hand – like Mary and Leo – steadily make their way forward; along the way, they embrace new challenges, create communities and learn from the detours and diversions that almost entice them from the path they’re clearing towards their own fulfilment and what used to be called The Greater Good.

    They showcase, link to and support other bloggers. For me, that’s the ultimate blogging win/win. Mary was the fairy godmother to my own blog launch, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

    What does it take to be a spiritual pioneer?

    A vision of where you want to go and a heart full of courage, integrity, loyalty and honesty.

    Courage and Honesty

    Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeated. ~ Helen Keller

    • Be brave enough to spend time getting to know yourself well so that you have something authentic to offer the world. There is only one you – there has never been another, nor will there be. Get to know your roles in life and your values for each role. If blogging means you go to bed at night feeling you’ve let down your loved ones, you need a rethink.
    • Be brave enough to stand up to the fear of ridicule, self doubt and wingclipping advice that inevitably follow bold new ventures.
    • Be brave enough to know when something isn’t working and let go. My friend Eric Hamm, created 5 new websites in four months and has only kept the best. Mary tried out new formula at Goodlife Zen and her posts have gone viral.
    • Be brave enough to up the quality and length of your posts and cut the frequency if it works for you; you may be gifting your readers with a few days’ breathing space to catch up on your posts.
    • Be brave enough to cut down on the quantity, frequency and length of the comments you leave on other blogs. You’ll know in your heart if commenting is interfering with the quality of your own writing or the time you spend reading and living your non-cyber life.
    • Be brave enough to withdraw from social networking till you see what’s the absolute minimum that’s beneficial to your business and emotional welfare.

    Integrity and Loyalty

    Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Ghandi

    • Don’t follow templates or advice that make you feel uncomfortable or sad. Your gut will know if you’re going against your true nature, ignoring your inner voice.
    • If your posts go viral and Twitter explodes your posts exponentially, don’t make your original readers feel left out and neglected, especially if you decide to stop replying to individual comments or emails. Write a small post explaining your new decision to keep your inbox and your daily commenting manageable. Do you really want to hurt the very same people who supported you daily when your comments read {6 COMMENTS} or the ones who emailed you to tell you to keep going?
    • Use links with integrity. Ask yourself some deep honest questions about why you use Comment Luv, as a blog host or a visitor.
    • When you visit a blog daily, ask yourself if you’re loyal, or just scared to miss the opportunity to advertise your latest posts through Comment Luv.
    • Do your comments add more than your silence would?
    • How many of your readers become friends? How many leave when your blog goes silent? Do you describe all visitors to your blog as ‘traffic’ without giving it a second thought
    • Do your Twitter stats reveal loyalty – or tribal fear?

    Clearing the way

    To be any kind of pioneer, you have to clear a path through the unknown; you have to have a clear vision of who you are and where you’re going.

    Here are some coaching questions to help you get to know yourself more deeply:

    ~ If time and money were not an issue, what would you most like to do with your life?

    ~ What expands you? What contracts you?

    ~ What would you like someone to say about the kind of person you were and how you lived your life?

    ~ If you could lead five parallel lives, who would you be in each of them?

    Spiritual pioneers travel light. Get rid of anything that’s dulling your shine and draining your energy.


    • Self limiting beliefs
    • The need to constantly blame others
    • Clutter in your home, your computer, your calendar and your thinking
    • Too much talking, too many words
    • People who drain you or leave you feeling competitive or inferior

    If you want to leave a writing legacy, Tim Bowdon’s series provides an introduction to some inspirational pioneers:

    50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life

    50 Prosperity Classics: Attract It, Create It, Manage It, Share It (50 Classics)

    50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom from 50 Great Books on Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose

    What are your thoughts on spiritual pioneering?


    Image courtesy of Pixabay


    About the author

      Janice Hunter

      Janice Hunter is a certified life coach who supports writers, coaches and homemakers through her writing over at Sharing the Journey.

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    • janice says:

      I’m sure Mary and Leo know about this but it’s new to me, so thanks for pointing it out; I’ll go and have a look. I’m still at that stage where being allowed to guest post here is a heady thrill in itself!

    • Brenda says:

      Just spotted this post on Guy Kawasaki’s Blogging/Alltop. Congrats, Leo, Mary, and Janice. Since Guy is obsessed with cataloging and organizing everything of importance on the internet, you should feel honored!

    • janice says:

      I’m a new blogger so I find all comments helpful in some way. If you don’t comment very often, then I’m especially grateful that you’ve taken the time to leave one today.

    • Kate says:

      Interesting that you bring up the Comment Luv aspect. I have the opposite problem: remembering that what I have to say may be helpful, and bothering to make the comment at all. Introversion translates to blogging, too. That’s funny.

      Thanks, I appreciate posts on conscientious business.

    • Hi Janice and everyone! I love this post.

      I think it’s done something important: it’s helped to shape WTD’s character.

      Leo and I get on so well in our combined endeavors because we have something in common: we value integrity.

      We’re real people with real lives and real struggles. I don’t want to speak for Leo, but I’m certainly not perfect and I don’t think I’m the world’s greatest writer either.

      But I’m passionate about writing. It inspires me, uplifts me, makes me smile – even on a cold morning. I’ve discovered in my own writing and in the writing of those of others that talent grows with doing. That’s cool! We can all develop into fantastic writers – step by step.

      Janice – thank you for an article that made me sit back and reflect.

      (We’ll have to get her back, eh folks?)

    • janice says:

      Thank you. I’m glad your spiritual journey brought you here.

    • cyramiles says:

      It’s a nice post. And I agree with Oke. I am living the same path as he is – living with matters to our life.

    • janice says:

      I wish I was as organised and productive as you make me sound. I’m addicted to reading and writing and schedule it into my days. I also watch very little TV, preferring to relax with a family DVD when we’re all in the mood. Time zone differences also mean I can work things around the kids’ school timetable and activities and if I’m on ‘taxi duty’, I write in car parks and cafés. (I don’t have a study so I’m also forced to pack away my stuff when we need the table for meals! Truth is, the more I write, the more clutter I get rid of so that I’ve less to clean and organise.)

      The guest posts were actually written at various times over the last few weeks and writing and responding to comments is a joy, the connection and community part of blogging I enjoy most.That’s why I rarely get sad if I don’t get many comments; it means more time to respond.

      The hardest part of blogging for me is limiting how many blogs to visit because there are so many wonderful ones and the good ones always seem to elicit a response from me. A person could end up cyber connected 24/7. I read quite a few blogs silently, feeling at least that I’ve upped someone’s reader numbers by one if I don’t have time to leave a meaningful or supportive comment.

      @ Jared,
      Thank you! What a delight this was to read. Isn’t it amazing how many of us would spend our time writing in our ideal worlds. I loved this:

      “If it’s uncomfortable, I should probably pay attention to that inner voice and realize, more than likely, I’m about to grow in some way. Although I may contract initially, being self-aware allows me to realize this and expand to let the experience teach me something.”

      I hope other people are enjoying these comments as much as I am.

    • Thank you for bringing me into this moment and encouraging me to take a look at aspects of my blog and motives.

      Listening to that small still voice, or the nudging of my conscience, is an invaluable guide on my spiritual journey. In my experience, it took me years of hard work to begin a dialog with that voice.

      I thought I would share my answer to one set of questions your posed:

      -If time and money were not an issue, what would you most like to do with your life?
      Writing. Both music and on life. This would of course be on a beach somewhere tropical so I could SCUBA dive anytime I wanted.

      -What expands you? What contracts you?
      I guess they are one in the same for me. What expands me is the spiritual growth I receive from experiences that I initially contract, shrink, or shy away from. If it’s uncomfortable, I should probably pay attention to that inner voice and realize, more than likely, I’m about to grow in some way. Although I may contract initially, being self-aware allows me to realize this and expand to let the experience teach me something.

      -What would you like someone to say about the kind of person you were and how you lived your life?
      Loving, Humble, Altruistic, Changed, Free, Dependable, Spiritual, Alive

      -If you could lead five parallel lives, who would you be in each of them?
      Wow, this is a tough one… I’m not sure I understand the term “parallel lives,” as in opposite of myself or being someone other than myself? Based on the word “who” I’m guessing the latter.

      I want to say Jesus, but does that sound too vain? He helped so many people and seemed to be so full of Love, kindness, unselfishness, and at peace with himself. At first try this is hard, I really enjoy who I am today and cannot imagine leading another life. Ah, what the heck: Jesus, Gandhi, Oprah, John Veron, Jacques-Yves Cousteau

      Thanks again for a great post!

    • Brenda says:

      Hi Janice

      I’ve been diddling with my blog for three years now but only recently discovered (through Twitter) this big, exciting world of positive thought/spiritual pioneer blogs that you and many others work so hard to create and maintain. I know it’s not really work when you’re doing something you love but still I’m amazed by the way, like today, you have three different posts, responses to all comments on those three posts, comments on other blog posts, plus a job and a husband and children. . .how on earth do you do it? There is no way I could do all that. You are amazing.

      Thanks for sharing the journey and thanks for the pebble poem. I put it up today and it looks so pretty.

    • janice says:

      @Chania Girl,
      Thank you. It’s a long post – so ruminate’s a great word; I appreciate you taking the time. Although I’ve had a newsletter column for years, I’m also relatively new to blogging. I couldn’t believe how out of integrity I was getting, burned out, exhausted, getting further away from why I created my blog in the first place. Writing this was a timely message to myself as well as an attempt to support others.

      Thank you for sharing this. You’ve touched me and probably many others, too. Writing’s a companion that will keep you strong on the hardest parts of this new and unexpected phase of your journey. Comments like yours and others above remind me that there as many reasons for picking up a pen as there are people online. When times are really hard, sometimes the simple act of logging on and reaching out is an act of extreme courage. I wish you well.

    • Terese says:

      I guess I am a Spiritual Pioneer.
      I have been dealing with the sudden loss of my husband of 28 years.
      My friends say I have so much courage, and I feel like I am just doing what I need to do on this profound journey I have found myself taking.
      I have begun writing thoughts and poems about where I am and where I want to go in my life.
      I am re-creating who I am and who I thought I was.
      And most importantly, I do not want to lose Terese in all the emotions and situations that are constantly changing.
      Thank you for this forum and all the inspirational information.
      I am feeling renewed and rejuvenated.

    • This was a very refreshing post for me. As a relatively new blogger (6-7 weeks only in this online world), I have felt the urgency of some of these questions posed, battled with some of the dilemmas that can face someone trying to be an authentic voice in a room where so many people are already talking. There is a lot to ruminate on here, and I’m going to go do just that. Thank you.

    • janice says:

      A fantastic place to be! You’re a great example of what bold re-invention in our lives can achieve. I probably didn’t express that bit very well as I meant which five yous would you be. For example, if I could be five mes in five parallel universes, one would be the homemaker I am now, one would be a singer/songwriter, one would be a translator at the United Nations and so on. It just helps when it comes time to figure out how to get a little bit of all of our dreams into one, glorious patchwork life. Sometimes we can do it sequentially, other times we can blend them, like when I wrote and sang in Greek. Thanks, Tess.

    • Janice,
      What a wonderful post. If a blog doesn’t resonate with me I won’t read it or leave comments. Even if the person reads mine. It just doesn’t sound genuine to me.

      I can’t have 5 other lives as someone else only me, me, me. In the past I would have said Oprah I’m just happy with me and my life. Amen! A great place to be at age 55, eh?

    • janice says:

      @ You’re welcome. It makes sense to discover what your gifts and values are, what you want to share and why. Listen to your heart and your gut as well as devouring all the wonderful practical stuff out there that will help you become an effective blogger.

    • John says:

      I guess the only one fear I have on the list you put up there is not updating frequently enough for fear of leaving visitors. I’m relatively new on the blogging scene. I do want to make money from my blog, but first and foremost I want to create genuine connections with people.

      If money and time weren’t a problem, I guess I would spend my time traveling the world. Not going all over the world in a year like everybody else. I don’t feel the need to have to rush through every country. Just settle in one country for a year, make some great friends, do some revolutionary volunteer work, and then go to a new country and immerse myself in the culture, make more friends, etc. It would be just an awesome learning experience to do that. That really is my passion; my ultimate goal. To travel and meet people. Help people solve difficult problems.

      Thanks for writing. This post has actually calmed my nerves a little.

    • janice says:

      I’m sure Mary and Leo are grateful for your appreciation.

      You’re welcome. That “frenzy” you describe has led to so many people feeling burned out, overwhelmed, disillusioned and ultimately alienated from their real lives.

    • Parag Shah says:

      Hi Janice,

      This is a very relevant post in a time when everyone is in a frenzy to somehow get digitally networked and become popular in the blogosphere.

      I agree, spirituality is a very important part of our work. Thanks for writing this post.


    • Ana V. says:

      Congratulations! I have chosen you to receive the “Premios Dardo” Award. Please check out my post at: http://www.thewritertoday.com/2009/05/premios-dardo-award.html

    • janice says:

      This was a heartwarming comment to find when I logged on. Thank you! I think that’s a great definition of spirituality and what you gained from reading the post is the essence of why I wrote it. If you’re new here, you are in for such a treat; Mary and Leo provide very useful, practical, inspiring posts as well as giving other writers – and commenters – a chance to express their passions and share their skills here.

    • Manivannan says:

      Hi janice,

      It was a very interesting post. Spirituality is the way of transcending ‘human’ limitations and barriers that confine us…That’s how I define spirituality! Though i didn’t answer ‘Yes’ to the questions posed above, I felt happy when i finished reading the post. Since it made me comfort and gave confidence to blog with honesty and courage! Thanks a lot for that!

      And tips you gave are worth to be followed!

      I’m pretty new to this space, and am really happy to read such posts here…Also, will check out your space, sharing your journey, very soon 🙂


    • janice says:

      Thank you. Being brave enough to be true to myself has kept me going through difficult blogging and writing phases. I’ve also been inspired by people who’ve taken breaks to avoid burnout and those who’ve stepped back and re-invented themselves in order to continue doing good work.

    • janice says:

      @Positively Present,
      Thank you. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching myself this last month; I’ve been crisscrossing a few of my own integrity lines. Blogging could so easily become an addiction for me.

      Thank you. You make a good point about how the word spirituality can bring up different expectations in people.

      I’m a fan of Comment Luv, too, and have found great posts and good people because of it. I’ve also seen it abused, which is a shame because I think it can be another one of those blogging win/wins.

    • Lori Hoeck says:

      “Be brave enough to spend time getting to know yourself well so that you have something authentic to offer the world.” — I like the way you put that! The whole post is an excellent challenge to self.

    • janice says:

      @Writer Dad,
      I’m enjoying sharing your journey, too. You and Dave have a real win/win going on and it’s a pleasure to be part of it.

    • Randi says:

      This is a very well put-together post. I was anxious to read it when I saw the title, and was not disappointed. I have noticed that too often, bloggers are afraid to mention “spirituality” in any form out of fear of “offending” readers. I am always grateful for those, like you Janice, who acknowledge that spirituality, integrity, and morality are part of who we are as humans. For me, it’s important to leave this world a better place. This is a post I will want to return to every so often for further insight. Well done.

      You mentioned above using Comment Luv. As a reader of blogs who use Comment Luv, I have to say that I absolutely “luv” scrolling down the list of commenters to find post titles that jump out at me. I have found many new blogs that way. I also love analyzing why a certain title had appeal. What was it about that commenter’s “Last Post” title that intrigued me?

      Thanks for the reminder to eliminate clutter. Now that school is out and I’m back from vacation I looked at my desk and was very frightened. 🙂

    • Really great post! I loved reading it and it really got me thinking. I definitely answered yes to a few of the questions above and I realize that’s not who I want to be as a blogger. Thanks for help me in my own journey.

    • Writer Dad says:

      Hi Janice, it is always nice to read your words.

      Thank you for the mention. I don’t think true friendship is possible in the presence of ego. Dave makes it easy.

      What Leo and Mary do at Write to Done is wonderful – a service to the whole online writing community.

      You, Janice, are part of the journey.

    • janice says:

      Thanks, Nadia. I agree that people respond to a writer who shares their humanity. Everyone draws their own integrity line, but if someone earns your trust by writing vulnerably and openly, you get to know what their values are and mutual trust and respect can be formed.

    • Hi Janice,

      Excellent post! It is so nice to see you at WTD again. 🙂

      Whenever someone asks me about what to write and how to write, I always answer that they should listen to their heart. I think when you write from a place of integrity, it cannot but be a success.

      People can tell when someone is writing from experience. I think a writer has to respect their reader (regardless of how many they have) and the best way to show that respect is by being open and honest. None of us are perfect so why in the world try so hard to pretend to be perfect? People don’t read blogs to learn about how perfect someone is, they read blogs because they want to learn something which can help them in their life.

    • janice says:

      Thanks, Marc. I hope you do get inspired answering them all!
      Your blog is one of the places I stop off for a spiritual cuppa.

    • What a fantastic and insightful post Janice! And again with the great questions. I could fill up a blog just by answering them all.

      I’m a very spiritual person and I hope in my own small way that I am pioneering to others.

    • janice says:

      You’re welcome.Thank you for making this post a part of your journey.

    • Oke says:

      Ever since I got out of college I have been on a spiritual journey: read many self help books, eliminated clutter and friends, and traveled to Japan by myself. I am still in the walk in life of living without and only living with what matters in the world. I write everyday, which gives me solitude and purpose, and spend time with people I want to spend time with.

      Everyone in their lives should practice a spiritual walk, thanks for your insightful post.

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