What You Need To Say

Never try to write what
You think people want to hear
Don’t try to please your readers
That’s not the way, my dear

If you want to make a difference
Write what you need to say
Because that’s the only thing
You’ve got to offer anyway

–Russ Towne

I read or heard a saying awhile that minutes ago inspired me to write the poem above to help remind myself of the wisdom in the message. (It might even be one of the writing-related quotes that WordPress shares.) I don’t recall the wording of the original saying now or who said it because I think it’s been awhile since I read it.) I think the last 3 lines of my poem are exactly as the person who coined the saying said them (but they weren’t on three lines). I’d like to give credit to the person who wrote the saying, so if any of you know who it was, please let me know.


About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
This entry was posted in Creativity, Poems By Others, Quotes I Wrote, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What You Need To Say

  1. Thomas Ross says:


    This is true, so true. And so hard to do because what you “need to say” takes you close to the bone, close to your truest and deepest feelings and experiences- a tough place to go, a tough place to write from and then to share with others. But the only writing that has real redemptive power.

    I’m trying. Thanks for the reminder.


    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your great comments, Tom. I like what you said and how you said it. I’m also a songrwriter, and it is when I started writing from the heart, going to places within myself that are sometimes hard to face, to admit, and especially to share with the world, and began dredging up feelings that sometimes bring back painful memories and make my gut churn, that listeners began to truly get glimpses of who I am, the reasons I write, and why I feel so connected to them. I had to not only get emotional skin in the game, I had to immerse myself within myself, and report the experiences as honestly as I could.


  2. bulldogsturf says:

    Wish it was me as it is so true…

  3. It is so good to read this poem today as just the other day I was reading some tips from WP that said you should ask your readers what you want them to see you write about ..and I thought “I can’t do that”…I can only write what I know or enjoy or feel led to write…. That’s why I started blogging ….not to just write! Along with the writing of course I love the interaction and reading of what others’ write..and I’d never feel led to suggest they write something else..Does that make sense?….Diane

    • russtowne says:

      It makes perfect sense to me, Diane. I feel the same way. One of the many wonderful things about the internet is that readers can find a writer. If they like what they read, they’ll come back for more and an appreciative audience is built naturally. I love it.


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