If You Want to Write

By Brenda Ueland,

Book cover of If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Book description

Brenda Ueland was a journalist, editor, freelance writer, and teacher of writing. In If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit she shares her philosophies on writing and life in general. Ueland firmly believed that anyone can write, that everyone is talented, original, and has something…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked If You Want to Write as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Writers often struggle to think of themselves as “writers” because the world has us believing that we can only carry that title if we are successfully published, and of course words such as “success” and even “published” can be fraught with subjective controversy. One of the lessons I learned from Brenda Ueland, among other great thinkers, is that we need to focus first on our own authenticity and only much, much later dare we think about what the world might have to say. This allowed me to let go and move on and trust myself on my writing path.…

From G.'s list on to get you writing.

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is believing in an idea and jumping into it with heartfelt energy. This classic, written in 1938, gave me hope when I started on my book-writing journey 20 years ago, and it still occupies a place of honor on my bookshelf. I referred to it with fresh eyes when I jumped into nonfiction. Gotta love a book that boldly states that “everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Ueland shows fresh ways to connect with readers through your words and to connect with yourself as a writer.

Keep in mind that the first edition of If You Want to Write was published in 1938 by a woman. What a trailblazer! In her long life, Ueland spent time as a journalist, editor, writer, and writing teacher. But don’t be fooled, If You Want to Write can serve as an inspiration for anyone who wants to tap into any creative medium. The attitude that I took from the book and try to follow in my writing practice can be summed up by this Ueland quote, “I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a…

One of the more moving and inspiring books on writing ever. As a journalist and author, Ueland’s writing style is lovely and completely engaging. As she shares stories of her time spent as a teacher of writing, the idea of what “art” or “good writing” takes on a very human and compelling air. The anecdotes illustrate the dedication, breadth, and challenges faced by her wide variety of students, ultimately giving hope to us all.

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