Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say. – Brenda Ueland
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland is as timely today as it was when it was first penned, back in 1938.
The first lines of the book are quoted above… and it goes from there. She’s right, you know… we all … as in ALL … have something important to say.
Want to see a rogue spirit? A woman on a mission? Someone ahead of her time? Damn, girl can wear stripes!
I think I picked up this book today because I’m feeling nostalgic. Because I long for comforting words from strong women who weren’t afraid to be their original selves in a time when very few were (and thank God we have so many women like that today, eh?)
Ueland is obviously one of those women.
This book is straight from her heart and packed with content about writing.
Here’s one of the topics she discusses that I’ve never read about anywhere else. See what you think.
This is my take on what I read:
As a writer, you should never become an advocate for your protagonist. Don’t feed or manipulate your reader. In short: let the reader decide.
I’m reminded of one of my half-finished novels and how often I slipped into wanting my heroine not to be seen as a victim. I would write to that particular notion and get all tangled up… away from the story. In fact, besides killing off half the town, it’s the reason the book (and several others) failed.
Write the story. Yes, develop characters but not for the purpose of “making” the reader feel this way or that. You want the love or hate to come organically, which I know is an over-used word these days but it totally fits here.
This book is like a narration and textbook all in one. There are footnotes and scholarly words and yet, it reads easily.
And remember, it was written 80+ years ago!
I love going to used bookstores and finding gems like these! There’s this one in an old house in town… all stacks to the ceiling and book-smelly… ah… delightful. Any-way.
Since I’m assuming you’re all book lovers like me, I highly recommend stepping out of the kindle/ audio/ new book mindset and delve into the old stuff.
By the by, my depression seems to be lifting… but in its place is a kind of melancholy, which I suppose is the reason I chose a book like this. The melancholy is for things (and people) past.
I think it’s because my dad is still not quite tip-top and my friend died so recently… it’s just that time is so fleeting. Not to be morose or maudlin… and I mean that sincerely. People tell you to remember this time… whatever this time may be: when you have your first job, graduate, marry, when the kids are small, when they come home with broken hearts to mend, when they leave home… and all those times have happened to me already. I am truly entering my third act of life with less time ahead of me than behind, no matter how long I live.
Everything is moving so fast. And yet, the words of this woman from 80 years ago resonates like it was written today. I love that!
*Original post was written March 22, 2018 HERE