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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(3 star, Verified Purchases). See all 225 reviews
on May 7, 2014
Others have done a thorough job of reviewing the contents of this slim book. My review is about the context - this current BN Publishing edition could have been a gem with some care and effort. Sadly it is below par. First of all, there are many careless typos and haphazard blank lines within paragraphs throughout the book. Although this work was first published in 1938, there is no indication of its original copyright or publishing history. Apparently this publisher acquired the copyright in 2008 and cares nothing for what transpired before. Even more glaring, there is no introduction to give the contemporary reader a sense of how and why these insights have transcended time and are still important today. A short biography of the author would also have been in keeping with a book that has been around for approximately 75 years. If you purchase If You Want To Write, look into finding a different edition.
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on June 20, 2016
It is a book that changes how you think about writing. I would recommend to anyone interested in creating and developing yourself further.
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on April 23, 2016
A quaint little book. Yielded one very valuable insight about writing...I won't spoil it by telling you what it was.
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VINE VOICEon February 5, 2008
First published in 1938, "If You Want to Write" presents the philosophy of writing (indeed, of all creativity) that Brenda Ueland taught for many years at the Minneapolis YWCA. The title of the first chapter presents her premise: "Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say," and subsequent chapters guide readers in how to tease out their own talent and originality so that it "infects" readers. Though her details do evoke the 1930s, her observations of human nature remain spot-on to 2008.

Ueland's message is encouraging and inspirational and true. My quibbles concern aspects of the book's editing (non-editing?). First, the punctuation and formatting (extra and omitted commas; footnotes) interfered with my reading and I had to re-read numerous sentences to make sense of them. Second, Ueland tends to introduce a topic but then note that she'll deal with it later; I didn't keep track of what she was postponing, but did keep wondering whether she ever got back to all of it. Overall, the writing has a somewhat sloggy (first-draft) feel rather than that of a tightened manuscript.

In the genre, I'd instead recommend: Anne Lamott's fabulous "Bird by Bird"; Dorothea Brande's "Becoming a Writer" (also pubbed in the 1930s); and John Gardner's "On Becoming a Novelist."
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on October 7, 2015
It's worthwhile. The author makes several points about things you should not have in your head about writing, and several things you should. These are bolstered with many examples. Student writings from her classes are fascinating.
Where the book appears to me to lack, is first, that the presentation style will cause discomfort. Quotation marks are not used, and her footnotes are presented at the chapter's end. It becomes a game when you reach them to remember what the heck they applied to. Second, I can't be sure, but the book may have been written a while ago; makes you wish a little for a current update. Third, I was more interested in what it can say about songwriting, though as a blogger, I did enjoy many of the points that might not apply to songwriting. Songwriting has aspects that are not shared with prose.
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on December 5, 1999
The book seems quite archaic in viewpoint now, and could be updated for modern readers. Still Ueland makes a great point, that you need to wrtie with soul and passion from your heart, not strive for some lofty, arty goal. She points out what is wrong with much of popular culture today, it seems more an imitation of greatness than greatness. In a sense, you can't fake soul and heart. If it doesn't come from you, the reader will know. Still, the book takes forever to make its points and Ueland's constant "I'll try and tell you about it later" proclamations throughout the book make you wonder if this wasn't a first draft. Like most writing books, this one is a wee bit overrated. Wanna write, do it.
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on December 15, 2015
I enjoyed this book enough, though I've read better craft books.
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on July 20, 2014
This book is an edited version of the original, and the original is much better!
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on February 13, 2013
There are a lot of books out there on writing, like Stephen King's "On Writing," and they all have their own niche.

This one reminded me a lot of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, except Cameron's book resonates more with me personally. I understood what Ueland was saying, but it didn't reach me the way Cameron's book did.

It's an older book and it felt outdated to me. Would recommend Cameron's or King's before this one.
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on January 22, 2013
I purchased this for my daughter. I've read it previously and think its a great book but I'm disappointed with the new cover. The previous cover with the old style pen would have more universal appeal especially because of her recent devorce she's not crazy about men at this time! Jon C
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