Saturday, September 04, 2004

" . . . you are all original and talented and need to let it out of yourselves; that is to say, you have the creative impulse.
But the ardor for it is inhibited and dried up by many things; as I said, by criticism, self-doubt, duty, nervous fear which expresses itself in merely external action like running up and downstairs and scratching items off lists and thinking you are being efficient; by anxiety about making a living, by fear of not excelling.

Now this creative power I think is the Holy Ghost. My theology may not be very accurate but that is how I think of it. I know that William Blake called this creative power the Imagination and he said it was God. He, if anyone, ought to know, for he was one of the greatest poets and artists that ever lived.

Now Blake thought that this creative power should be kept alive in all people for all their lives. And so do I. Why? Because it is life itself. It is the Spirit. In fact it is the only important thing about us. The rest of us is legs and stomach, materialistic cravings and fears.

How could we keep it alive? By using it, by letting it out, by giving some time to it.

We have come to think that duty should come first. I disagree. Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of 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, light-hearted and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear and all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom.

Now, you see, I have established a reason for your working at writing, not in a trifling, weak way, but with affection and endurance. In other words, I want to make you feel that there is a great intrinsic reward to writing. Unless you feel that you will soon give it up. You won't last very long at it. A few rejection slips will flatten you out. A few years of not making a cent out of it will make you give it up and feel bitterly that it was a waste of time.

I want to assure you with all earnestness, that no writing is a waste of time, - no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding. I know that."
- Brenda Ueland
If You Want To Write

From Whiskey River

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