I Do Want to Write!
I love Brenda Ueland and her book, If You Want to Write. Her passion is so infectious, and she inspires me every time I read her encouraging words.
As I think about what I might write on this blog and what I might do with my life, this passage seems particularly helpful right now:
I tell you these things because of my own difficulties. One great inhibition and obstacle to me was the thought: will it make money? But you find that if you are thinking of that all the time, either you don’t make money because the work is so empty, dry, calculated, and without life in it. Or you do make money and you are ashamed of your work. Your published writings give you the pip.
Another great stumbling block and inhibition to me was the idea that writing (since I wanted to make a fortune and dazzle the public) was something in which you showed off, were a virtuoso, set yourself up to be something remarkable.
But at last I understood from William Blake and Van Gogh and other great men, and from myself—from the truth that is in me (and which I have at last learned to declare and stand up for, as I am trying to persuade you to stand up for your inner truth)—at last I understood that writing was this: an impulse to share with other people a feeling or truth that I myself had. Not to preach to them, but to give it to them if they cared to hear it. If they did not—fine. They did not need to listen. That was all right too. And I would never fall into those extremes (both lies) of saying: “I have nothing to say and am of no importance and have no gift”; or “The public doesn’t want good stuff.”
When I learned all this then I could write freely and jovially and not feel contracted and guilty about being such a conceited ass; and not feel driven to work by grim resolution, by jaw-grinding ambition to succeed, like some of those success-driven business men who, in their concern with action and egoistic striving, forget all about love and imagination, and become sooner or later emotionally arthritic and spiritually as calcified and uncreative as mummies.
—Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write
Yes. I certainly shouldn’t think about making money as a blogger. And I should be wild and free and write from the heart instead of worrying about making a big show of it.
It occurs to me that Brenda would have loved the internet and blogging. That anyone can publish their thoughts for the whole world to see. That you can easily share your words with anyone that cares to read them.