What Authenticity Is and Why It Matters

People who work in communications, such as television or book publishing, now say that authenticity is the new authority or authenticity is the new cool. It’s a shame that the word authenticity has now become overused and worn out, almost beyond having any meaning at all. It’s a lovely word – it even sounds lovely. Its meaning is woven into concepts, such as truth, realism, and integrity. Authentic means, “This is the real thing,”

So, try to forget how often you’ve heard authenticity tossed around like so much marketing pizzazz. Let’s explore what it isn’t, and what it is. 

  • Authenticity is not brutal and unedited honesty.
  • Authentic writing is honest, which means that it tells the fullest truth it knows.
  • Authentic writing rings true.
  • Because authentic writing is truthful, it will upset someone eventually because the truth can be disturbing.
  • Authenticity often prevents neat endings and quick answers. 
  • Authenticity steps back until the viewpoint has expanded and the emotional tone is not neutral but is at least readable.
  • Authenticity allows real interaction between writer and reader.
  • Authenticity invites engagement.
  • Authenticity is holistic rather than selective. 

from “The Art of Spiritual Writing” by Vinita Hampton Wright, Loyola Press