Monday, January 11, 2010

Memoir Monday: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Hi everyone and welcome to another Memoir Monday, actually the first Memoir Monday of 2010. I have chosen a very good book to start the new year with. It's the perfect blend of relaxing and creative advice. So, take a deep breath and join me in discussing...

This is the perfect title for this book. Where previous Memoir Mondays included authors who discussed and shared their own writing paths, Bradbury allows us into his heart and soul. He shows you exactly where his stories and ideas come from and teaches how we can all tap into our own creative fountains.

Bradbury offers an exercise to get you thinking and creating. He says to write down a list of things you love and hate. What do you want most in the world? What do you fear? This is where you will find your stories. He does this list in title form (The Attic, The Jar). Then he goes back through the list and adds details to the ones that move him most. Finally, he focuses on the idea that calls to him the loudest, the one that stirs the most emotion.

He recommends a few other daily exercises to keep your mind in shape.

  • Read Poetry everyday. He says that all reading (magazines, novels, nonfiction, etc) is needed, but poetry helps flex your creative muscles. It expands your senses, keeps you aware, and holds ideas.
  • Write at least 1000 words a day
  • Write a short story every week

The last one is really where the Zen comes in. In order to get a lot of writing work done, you have to relax. The more relaxed you can get, the easier the words will flow. Stressing out over who will like or dislike your work, or how much money you will make from it, is a sure way to crush your muse and your creativity. Bradbury says don't think about any of that until the work is done. It doesn't matter what order you put them in, you can not write to your true abilities if you can't follow these: RELAX, WORK, and DON'T THINK.

I loved this quote...

"The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought." to finish this with his own advice. "In hesitation is thought." If you're thinking, you're not relaxed. If you're not relaxing, you're not working. It makes sense.

I am going to do my best to follow his advice in my own writing. What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with Ray Bradbury's advice and thoughts on the writing craft?

Thanks for stopping by for Memoir Monday. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

Hope the rest of your week is productive and creative.

Kristin : )

1 comment:

  1. That is excellent advice. I'm an "over-thinker"...and I can absolutely tell the difference when I just let it flow as opposed to thinking too much while I'm trying to get words down. I've been trying hard to do more of my thinking *before* I start writing, so that I can relax and let it flow more easily.

    Sounds like a great book - I'll have to get a copy. Thanks for the recommendation. :-)