I have long been fond of Brenda Ueland’s work. She wrote If You Want to Write, which is a classic book on encouraging writers to write. In it, she introduces the term “moodle,” which means to wander aimlessly thinking nothing in particular in order to gather inspiration. My brother gave me a book of her compiled essays, which is called Strength to Your Sword Arm.
I’ve been reading an anthology of essays about the writing life called The Spirit of Writing and found a piece by Brenda Ueland within. It’s called Be Careless, Be Reckless, Be a Lion or a Pirate When You Write. (Isn’t that a fabulous line?) When I read the closing paragraph, I knew I had to share it:
“I found that many gifted people are so afraid of writing a poor story that they cannot summon the nerve to write a single sentence for months. The thing to say to such people is: “See how bad a story you can write. See how dull you can be. Go ahead. That would be fun and interesting. I will give you ten dollars if you can write something thoroughly dull from beginning to end!” And of course no one can.” (pg. 230, Brenda Ueland in The Spirit of Writing, edited by Mark Robert Waldman)
And now I’m inspired.