If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
By: Brenda Ueland
Sublime Books (March 5, 2014)
If You Want to Write is a book of artistic encouragement. I found this little volume a delight. Ueland spends half the book encouraging and showing proof that most people are capable of writing beautifully. The key is not to put on a pretense. Just describe things as they are. Bescribe this as YOU see and feel them. (Most professional writers get there with persistence and a bit of luck – if you want to know the truth.) You are capable of so much! Keep going!
Two of my favorite quotes:
Finally I said: “Describe something just as it is. Do not worry if it is angular and clumsy or how it comes out. Just look at something and put down what you see. Remember William Blake who said: ‘Improvement makes straight, straight roads, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.’”56 56 The truth, life itself, is always startling, strange, unexpected. But when the truth is told about it everybody knows at once that it is life itself and not made up. But in ordinary fiction, movies, etc., everything is smoothed out to seem plausible,—villains made bad, heroes splendid, heroines glamorous, and so on, so that no one believes a word of it.
So if you want your children to be musicians, then work at music yourself, seriously and with all your intelligence. If you want them to be scholars, study hard yourself. If you want them to be honest, be honest yourself. And so it goes. And that is why I would say to the worn and hectored mothers in the class who longed to write and could find not a minute for it: “If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say: ‘Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!’ you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”