• Kendra Bonnett
  • Writing Video #3: "Be Bold, be Free, be Truthful" and Write with Brenda Ueland as Your Guide
Writing Video #3: "Be Bold, be Free, be Truthful" and Write with Brenda Ueland as Your Guide
Written by
Kendra Bonnett
June 2012
Written by
Kendra Bonnett
June 2012

Kendra Bonnett, She Writes Guest Editor and Co-Founder of Women's Memoirs

Sorry I couldn't post a blog and video yesterday, but my own writing consumed my day. I'm making it up to you with this inspiring little video that my business partner and co-author Matilda Butler made to celebrate the writing genius of Brenda Ueland.

I love this video both for its sage advice and for the fact that Matilda brought me back to Ueland. I didn't know who Ueland was when Matilda first made this video, but when I heard the name of the book it struck a chord. I started poring over the books on my shelves.

There it was: If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit. And when I took the book down and opened it, I found the following inscription:

Kendra-I was going to buy a new one, but got home too late. This helped me over a hump once. Happy Birthday, Jere

Between this advice and Matilda's video, you can be certain I gave Ms. Ueland a fair reading:

I suggest that you do the same. This book is packed with advice that only a gifted and caring teacher of writers could provide after years of working with authors, aspiring authors and men and women who think they might have an idea for a story.

In the second preface for the 1983 edition of her 1938 writing craft book, If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland wrote:

"Your motto: Be Bold, be Free, be Truthful. The truthfulness will save it from flamboyance, from pretentiousness."

In our book, Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep, Matilda and I develop techniques for you to mine your fertile imagination and rich depths of memory. Our tools and techniques are designed to help you write from your own truth. And our experience teaching this has shown that the "prewriting" process brings the best out of our students.

If you'll follow me over to Women's Memoirs, I'll share five techniques for digging deep into your inner writer for your own truth.

For more information about Writing Alchemy click here.

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  • Kendra Bonnett

    I agree, Valorie. I guess she was very active throughout her life. She passed away at 93, and some time before set an international swimming record in the 80 and up class. Good for her, and a great book.

  • Brenda's book has long been one of my favorites. Would have love to have met her!

  • RYCJ Revising

    Honestly Kendra, I'm chicken. With fiction, I will let it go... just like the motto up there says, and yes, I so agree that this does make for very realistic images.

  • Kendra Bonnett

    I think so too, RYCJ. And yes they are brave for writing truth, but there's the added benefit that by sticking to the truth we actually write better. Our images are more realistic...and just all around better. Glad the memoirs are inspiring to you, but why wouldn't you think to try one?

  • RYCJ Revising

    Awesome motto. I can't began to explain how memoir writers who embrace this process are the bravest writers there are. I'll be honest and admit, although I managed to pull off one short mem, I realized then I'd never write a memoir. But I read them all the time. The energy they give me is phenomenal.