“This creative power and imagination is in everyone and so is the need to express it, i.e., to share it with others. But what happens to it?
“It is very tender and sensitive, and it is usually drummed out of people early in life by criticism (so-called “helpful criticism” is often the worst kind), by teasing, jeering, rules, prissy teachers, critics, and all those unloving people who forget that the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life. Sometimes I think of life as a process where everybody is discouraging and taking everybody else down a peg or two...
“You know how all children have this creative power…But this joyful, imaginative, impassioned energy dies out of us very young. Why? Because we do not see that it is great and important. Because we let dry obligation take its place. Because we don’t respect it in ourselves and keep it alive by using it. And because we don’t keep it alive in others by listening to them...
“You have noticed how teachers, critics, parents and other know-it-alls, when they see you have written something, become at once long-nosed and finicking and go through it gingerly sniffing out the flaws. AHA! A misspelled word! as though Shakespeare could spell! As though spelling, grammar and what you learn in a book about rhetoric has anything to do with freedom and the imagination!”
“Remember these things. Work with all your intelligence and love. Work freely and rollickingly as though [you] were talking to a friend who loves you. Mentally (at least three or four times a day) thumb your nose at all know-it-alls, jeerers, critics, doubters.”
excerpts from If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland
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