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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Writing Book of the Century
A friend gave me this book for Christmas because he knew I liked to write and told me it was the best book for writing. I was skeptical, but started the book anyhow so I could at least tell him I looked at it. I found it immediately engaging and savored every page, limiting myself to a few pages a night so I wouldn't finish it quickly. The best part is that it is an...
Published on Jan. 24 2003 by rizabiz

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Literary Cheerleading
Go writer go. Chocolate fudge brownies for the writer's soul.
Not what I was hoping for, but if you didn't get enough pushing to believe in yourself, this may help.
Published on Sept. 29 2011 by W. B. Mutton


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Writing Book of the Century, Jan. 24 2003
By 
rizabiz "rizabiz" (Westhampton Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
A friend gave me this book for Christmas because he knew I liked to write and told me it was the best book for writing. I was skeptical, but started the book anyhow so I could at least tell him I looked at it. I found it immediately engaging and savored every page, limiting myself to a few pages a night so I wouldn't finish it quickly. The best part is that it is an "idea" writing book rather than an exercise book. There is no stopping to jot down notes or pages with writing exercises. Ueland gets into ideas and the psychology of why we do and don't write certain things. It got my brain churning, and I found myself become less inhibited with a project I was trying to get to the next level on. Excellent book for the experience writer who is feeling a need to break through to some fresh material. Ueland is amazingly insightful and even though it is written in 1938, it does not feel dated.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, Nov. 7 2009
By 
Sam (British Columbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: If You Want To Write (Paperback)
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland is an inspirational book about people writing without the fear of not being as good as Shakespeare or any other famous writer. The beginning I found was the most interesting, and the latter half of the book was less. Her thoughts are encouraging and will make you want to write. The most important topic in this book seems to be writing from your true self.

Some of what was discussed in the book includes the following:

Ueland says that everyone is original and has something to write about. If a person writes from their true self - which is quite difficult to do, because people often censor their writing or write what they think that they should be writing - they shall attain the best results.

If you write a bad story, you should write three more stories, and then come back to the first one to see what went wrong. Do not let critics discourage you, because they are people who have never practiced the art of writing themselves.

Do not be afraid of writing and do not become a perfectionist when writing your first draft. When you write whatever is on your mind without changing it and without trying to use complicated words to better your writing, you shall finally be able to write from your true self and be able to write beautifully. Of course you must edit afterwards.

Anyone that has told a story to a child can write a story. Tolstoi said that everything should be expressed in such a way that a seven-year-old boy should be able to understand it.

If you cannot think of what to write, try not to think of it at all. Go for a walk, do other things alone and in silence, and your creativity will flow into you. Write for yourself, not for the purpose of getting published. But do write with an audience in mind, otherwise your story will be boring. If you read your story and any parts drag on, then cut them out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE most well written and interesting book about writing!, June 11 2004
This book is just fantastic! I was looking for a book to give me inspiration on my writing and this is it! I wasn't so sure at first, I was afraid of yet another fusty, musty textbook-twin that would give helpful hints but bore me to tears. But from the first page I was hooked! "...most people must break through a shell of timidity and strain." What encouragement! This book proved to me that there are other downtrodden creative people out there, people who have had "contructive criticism" shoved down their throats until it nearly killed them. Plus, the strain of being pressured to "make a living" from your writing. Instead, Brenda Ueland encourages in the most enlivening way to write because you love to! And in her mind this applies to anyone, this is not just a book about writing. It is inspiration for ANYONE who is afraid to follow their true creative spirit.
She says that Van Gogh painted not because it was expected of him or because he wanted to make a profit from it, rather he painted the stars in the sky because he loved them and wanted to show other people how beautiful they are, he wanted them to be seen from his perspective so that others might share in his wonder! How can that fail to inspire all downtrodden sensitive creators?
In this book, Ueland shows how to bypass all negative feedback from others, how to search inside ourselves to find our true motives for creating literature, artwork, whatever we love the most! She is able to bring out the unique creative nature in everyone (for if everyone is different, then everyone IS original!) and in the process make us happy with what we find inside.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it 'til you can't anymore, Aug. 24 2003
By 
Jeremy (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
Read this book. Read it all the way through. You might say to yourself "this is juvenile. This is naïve." But read it. Press on. Read it thoroughly. Set your mind on "accept" and let the book be right all the time.
Then, read it again. Keep reading it when you are not writing. Randomly pick a page and start. Read it out of order. Perhaps you'll find the Blake, or the Van Gogh; one of her students, or one of her tirades against the niggardly busy-busy world. Read it while watching T.V.(but not while driving a car!)
Soon, you just can't read it anymore. Because it's tedious? Because you've memorized it? Because its pages are stained with finger oil and falling apart?
Because you will be too damn busy furiously writing. And rewriting, then writing again. You will fear--with a creaky feeling in your gut--that a short break may jettison the idea you're blessed with off into the unexpressed void, then banish the next one, and the next one, like a home-run slugger on a roll at batting practice, all which demand permanence--because they all got that something. And you don't dare stop typing (at 75 W.P.M, with pauses of concentrated, exacting thought between) because you must, you absolutely soulfully must, capture this thought perfectly, then quickly move on to the next antsy thought tapping its toe impatiently behind, before it gets insulted and walks out to planet nowhere in a huff.
So read it. And I hope you read it so much that you just don't have the time to read it anymore, and it is gathering dust while your page is gathering words.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Literary Cheerleading, Sept. 29 2011
By 
W. B. Mutton (Ulan Batar, Mongolia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: If You Want To Write (Paperback)
Go writer go. Chocolate fudge brownies for the writer's soul.
Not what I was hoping for, but if you didn't get enough pushing to believe in yourself, this may help.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book on creativity., Nov. 25 2010
By 
The Transformer (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
My friend Rachel recommended this fantastic book and now, thanks Brenda Ueland, creativity feels possible again. No time for a longer review - I am inspired to go write!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great against writer's block, you can't wait to start after, June 2 2004
You can't wait to start writing after this one. I like the allover approach of the writer.
Writing as an art of living. Very good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Number One, Dec 15 2003
By A Customer
In my advanced writers workshop, I recommend Brenda Ueland's book above all others.
J R Lankford
Author, The Jesus Thief
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4.0 out of 5 stars Influential, Worthy Read for Writers and Non Writers Alike, Nov. 30 2003
By 
Julie Jordan Scott "Writer, Life Coach - Owne... (Bakersfield, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I read this book on a whim and in it, I felt not only inspired by Brenda Ueland's writing, I can read and hear her echo in many of the writers who followed her.
Its amazing to think, for example, that this book was written when my mother was 6 years old back in 1938. Makes me wonder what books are being written THIS YEAR that my six year old daughters daughter, at 41 will say, "Wow, this voice is from 1938? And she is so present to today!"
As a writer and a teacher of writing myself, I have spoken words similar to these crafted by Ueland: "No writing is a waste of time-- no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding."
While the book is written in a sometimes rambly form that makes my left brained side shout "What was the editor thinking when s/he organized this darn thing?!" at the same time I think this exact feature is one which teaches by example as well. Rambly, unorganized, out of order, pieces dropped and not necessarily re-picked up... its ok. Its life. Its ok. As I just quoted "It has stretched your understanding."
My copy is heavily underlined and dog eared... even though it is less than a year old I have gone back to favored sections repeatedly.
Read this one and you will have a brand new " haven't we met somewhere before?" friend on your bookshelf to enjoy for a long, long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes., Aug. 2 2003
By 
Oh no, Amazon! (syracuse, ny United States) - See all my reviews
Yes! This is not about writing, it's about living. Really living to your potential, and in a way that brings happiness and fulfillment. This is a book for everyone, and one that can be read every few years for inspiration!
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If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (Paperback - July 25 2008)
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