Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why Write

I've been reading Brenda Ueland's book, If You Want To Write , a book that is uncannily reflective of everything I've been thinking and experiencing about writing in the past year. Here are some of the things that have resonated with me just in the first couple of chapters~

~We all have a creative power, we're born with it, and we all have a need to express it. Children know this, and do it without thinking. But this free expression of creativity often gets "drummed out of us" by critical teachers, parents, friends, and society. We let this happen, because we fail to see how imporant it is to nurture this in ourselves by using it, and to encourage it in others by listening to them. For the only good "teachers" are the friends who will love you and encourage you, and think what you have to say is important and worthwhile, who will say, "tell me more" about the things you think and say and feel...

~We must practice our creativity with great intention, "with all your intelligence and love," and not perfunctorily..."a great musician once said that you should never play a note without hearing it, feeling that it is true, and thinking that it is beautiful."

~We must not let "duty" (the everyday things we must do) come before writing, because "writing~the creative effort, the use of the imagination~should come first, at least for some part of every day of your life. " The benefits are endless...you will become "happier, more alive, more enlightened, impassioned, light hearted, and more generous to everyone. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear, as will all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom..."

~Don't get caught up in modern society's view that if "there is no money in it, it's not worth doing." The intrinsic rewards of writing have been known for centuries. You know your own feelings better, you offer these feelings as a gift to the world, a world as Van Gogh said, was "so beautiful, he had to show others how it looked."

~The creative impulse is "a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and, in a direct, simple, passionate, and true way, you try to show this beauty to others by drawing (or writing) it." Don't be discouraged into believing that what you think about something isn't important or worth sharing..

~When you learn these things, you can write feeling, without feeling driven to succeed (at least according to socieities standards), but to accomplish your own best work for your own delight and satisfaction...

In just these ideas, in just these two chapter, Ueland has validated everything I've come to learn about the process of writing over the past year. And this blogging community~what better group of "loving friends" to offer my insight and feelings too, all of us encouraging and listening to one another.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of what she has to say...

8 comments:

Julie said...

Some great thoughts here. Once things slow down again for me I'd like to get back to doing some writing. Maybe those "stories" will come to me :D

jillypoet said...

You know, when I was just our of grad school and looking for guidance, someone, I don't remember who, but someone whose opinion I valued at the time, said the ONLY book to read on writing was Brenda Ueland's. I bought it, but never read too much. I just bungled along doing my own thing...Your post makes me want to get the book out and read it!

Bianca said...

I just recently decided to write. I felt all along that I had the creative seed in me to write. I'm just a novice finding my way to become one of the great literary writers with a message. High Goals huh? Well, I'm going to have some fun without thinking about the money factor (that was a good point you posted). I have always thought writing should be done with a passion instead of a need to get rich. But the two together is a welcome assess to my many muses of life- reading, writing, poetry ect...

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