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Brenda Ueland Explores the Craft of Writing

Here are some memorable quotes from Brenda Ueland:

“Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first–at least for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, lighthearted, and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve.”

Design H

“If you write, good ideas must come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are. But do not feel, anymore, guilty about idleness and solitude.”

Design H

“That is why I hope you can keep up this continuity and sit for some time every day (if only for a half hour, though two hours is better and five is remarkable and eight is bliss and transfiguration!) before your typewriter–if not writing then just thoughtfully pulling your hair. If you skip for a day or two, it is hard to get started again.”

Design H

“So if you want to write try this: go into your room alone. Resign yourself tranquilly to doing something slow and worthless for at least an hour. Take a pencil or sit before your typewriter and look out of the window. Perhaps write down and name (if you feel like it) what colors you see in the sky–exactly–and absorbedly, with quiet, dreamy attention. ‘Star… four points … yellow.’ Don’t bother to make sentences (unless you want to). Or dreamily and carelessly write what goes through your head such as: ‘I don’t seem to feel at all like working today. What is this muggy feeling?’ (You may find yourself giving a brilliant, truthful, luminous description of dullness and apathy). Or idly scrawl: ‘I seem to wish I could write a story that would sell for eight hundred dollars about a duchess, but I never knew a duchess and can’t seem to see one in my mind’s eye and what should I name her anyway?”‘Thoughts will begin to come out of this. You will find you have something to say. And tomorrow there will be more.”

– Brenda Ueland, Brenda in  If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit 



  1. Windy Mama says

    Rosanna, coming to visit your site everyday is such a source of inspiration and affirmation. These quotes/ideas are so true. Since I started my “new” blog posting a little story a day based on a single word inspiration I feel lighter and alive and impassioned. So far not in the least burdened. I wait for Dictionary.com’s word of the day almost giggling in anticipation. I have even used Ms. Ueland’s idle scrawling to get me started. Great stuff, my friend. Just great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words, Susanne. I try all these exercises but have not yet arrived at the point where I am giggling with anticipation to write. I think that well you found is so full of creative energies…You inspire me to keep looking,,,and learning…and sharing….

      Liked by 1 person

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