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

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some of the things this author said about writing really resonated with me, but other things were a bit too “out there”, flaky, and/or liberal weird. Most of what she said was really good though, and inspired me to write more freely!

In this book, the author encourages people to write from their true selves, to write with freedom from fear of criticism, to write about things they care about. Her words are at once deep and grand, but also simple and accessible. Her writing feels like a call to arms to a battalion of writers, and then she gives them training in how to be wild and watchful before throwing them into the war of words. Her manner of writing itself is actually very sympathetic and kind, but also includes the sort of tough love and bare truthfulness that makes you want to take action.

She doesn’t really say much about the “rules” of writing or what makes good writing, other than to say that you must not listen to the critics, but be true to your own vision. The whole book is about what it feels like to write, or at least what it SHOULD feel like… How ideas come, what to do with those ideas, and what to do if no ideas come at all.

It’s really beautiful and engaging writing that draws you in and makes you think deeply about your connection to writing as an art form. Why do we write? What makes us do it? Are we doing it for the right reasons and in the right spiritual way? Are we trying too hard, or not hard enough?

It’s good stuff, and has some excellent points! But there are also some weird answers that I didn’t agree with, or just some random tangents that went off into left field.

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