Quirky Books: If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

Monday, December 22, 2008

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

Written for people who want to become professional writers, this book is primarily motivational. Though the main points of the book could be summed up in five paragraphs, how it is written makes the biggest statement. Abstracts are appealing to right brained people. Stories assist in making information memorable. Writing style is difficult to pinpoint, though reinforcing the overall concept, which is to write from the heart. Free-thinkers often believed editing subdue and marginalize writing. She follows this concept closely.

It is surprising Ueland earned a living as a writer, editor and teacher. The book was originally copyrighted in 1938. The paperback was released in 1987. Passages imply this is her first published novel. Ueland refers to a publisher declining her other novels, because they were egotistical. Frankly, even with her new found method based on Blake, Chekov, and Van Gogh... footnotes usually cite another person's work. Ueland has footnotes to clarify her own remarks. This could be an outcome of following her heart, in order to stay true to the concept.

When addressing "microscopic truthfulness" she states, "When you get down to the true self and speak from that, there is always a metamorphosis in your writing, a transfiguration." This concept cites identifies personal experience as the division between mediocre and famous writers, giving people permission to be expressive, creating fascination and believability.

The first few chapters promote writing, instead of, fighting again themselves with grammar and unrealistic expectations. There are a few tips on gaining the focus to write. One tip includes focusing in a private place and to think of writing as communication, not a job. Let the mind relax. Approach it as fun, letting ideas flow freely.

Motivational to writers; it is applies to most professions. A large part of succeeding is learning how to learn and enjoy the facets of a chosen profession. Much time must be spent understanding a concept, playing with a design or practicing. Her tone changes throughout the book. Controversial from a literary standpoint, even today, Ueland is famous.

I found myself thinking, everything is false. However, this sentiment was quickly followed by, there is nothing to edit without having something on the page. Writers, entertainers and people having difficulties in their careers, because of inhibitions will benefit from reading "If You Want to Write." Ueland may have defined this movement or was at least an essential part of the development.