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Publisher's Summary

In her 93 remarkable years, veteran freelance writer, memoirist, and writing teacher Brenda Ueland published some six million words. She once said there were two simple rules that she followed absolutely: to tell the truth, and not to do anything she didn't want to do. Such integrity both distinguishes and defines If You Want to Write, her best-selling classic that first appeared in the late 1930s and has inspired thousands to find their own creative center. As Carl Sandburg once remarked, Ueland's primer is "the best book ever written on how to write".
©1938, 1987 Brenda Ueland and the Estate of Brenda Ueland (P)1991, 1998 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"A fresh and viable retelling....[Hunt's] rich prose and cultural details utilize the five senses to recreate the familiar story." (Publishers Weekly)

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What listeners say about If You Want to Write

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The most inspiring book

I have always shyed away from writing, but this book gives one such positive reinforcement as well as great ideas to help you get over any kind of writer's block. I highly recommend it to any aspiring writer.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspirational

The narrator is great. Entertaining, informative, and inspirational.

8 people found this helpful

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Wow.

Holy crap. I don’t write for a living, I haven’t even toyed with the notion of recreational writing...but this book is inspiring. I don’t feel as much that the author is giving advice on writing as on living itself.

This book is a magnificent and inspiring push to express yourself, whatever the result. I love to hear it as I have loved hearing other wise women in my life speak. Speaking of which, the narrator is amazing. I can’t imagine this book separate from her performance; the book and the narration are more than the sum of their parts.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who feels they have strayed from what matters in life. I would recommend it to high school seniors, who still have much to experience, and seasoned adults who need to be refreshed in their everyday lives. It’s a great hour and a half well-spent.

3 people found this helpful

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Thank you life, for the gift of Brenda Ueland

I have her original book, thanks to Anne Lamott's recommendation but now the audible version makes everything complete. I can listen to Brenda's inspiring words whenever I have a minute and they not only change the way I write but the way I live. The narrator is absolutely fantastic. Thank you, thank you.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A perfect tonic to recharge your writing batteries

I listen to this fabulously narrated classic by Brenda Ueland once a year just to clear my head and re-inspire myself to continue writing. My only complaint is that it is abridged and some of the original gorgeous text is missing. But still listening to this audiobook on a brisk walk brings renewed zest to my writing practice.

3 people found this helpful

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Inspirational

I'm not sure if I'm prepared to write after reading this book. But, I am prepared to be creative. And I will be sharing it with others.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Pat Carroll's smooth, authoritative voice

What made the experience of listening to If You Want to Write the most enjoyable?

This voice put to these beautiful, classical, sensitive words - this audio program, in my humble opinion, is simple, short and gorgeous!

What was one of the most memorable moments of If You Want to Write?

Her mentioning that years prior to writing that manifesto, she would have exhaustively looked for scientific proof to back up her words, but then she exclaimed that 'I say it because it is true to me, that it is true and you should have it!' - my favorite part!

Which character – as performed by Pat Carroll – was your favorite?

Pat Carroll voice was perfect for this book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Do you!

Any additional comments?

my review for the print version - There are no words...but i'll try. Brenda Ueland has written this manifesto for everyone who has anything in them to share to spur them on. I love the wording, I love the quotes from her favorite people, I love her artists sensibility and that she gets the way a writer's mind works. She was and is (because being that she was a writing teacher, this book screams of her living spirit) THE voice for a writer lost in their own mind, trying to latch on to guidance and do their thing.

I simply love her and this book is why I do.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Need an unabridged version...

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This book is great - a classic. But this abridged version doesn't do this wonderful book justice. And why abridge it to begin with? It's not a long book. So much wisdom is left out.

Would you be willing to try another book from Brenda Ueland? Why or why not?

Of course - IF it is unabridged!

What about Pat Carroll’s performance did you like?

She read this wonderfully! My complaint is certainly not with her performance - she was great. The whole (audio) book needs to be made available.

Was If You Want to Write worth the listening time?

again, needs to be longer - the whole book.

Any additional comments?

Like I said, this book is such a gem, an unabridged version needs to be available. And with Pat Carroll reading it as well.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolute Magic... Inspiration in Short Order

"Families are great murders of the creative impulse, especially husbands." :) I love how Ueland can say scathing things in such a loving and humorous way, and say it without any true resentment or anger.

Pat Carroll is genius! So much so, that when I share this book, I share the AUDIOBOOK more often than the book itself. This is a perfect work! Brenda Ueland, especially through the motivating, frank, animated voice of Pat Carroll, has changed my life. I give this to everyone that will show interest.

Ueland's "thoughts" focus on solutions, on motivation. She does not waste her time on details of the writing itself. She poses the idea that you will easily figure this out all on your own if you love and embrace the "holy ghost of creative power."

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"Two thumbs up"

Loved Pat Carroll's narration of the book. She made it so easy to listen and become sunk into the book. Her voice was like listening to a wise person who has been there, done that and is sharing the information from her heart with a honesty for you to succeed in what you are wanting to accomplish. It also reaffirmed that you shouldn't rush what you are doing and not to let what others say discourage you from doing what you're doing. Let it flow on it's own. I really loved the book and would highly recommend it.