How’s the NaNoWriMo-ing doing?
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury is probably one of my favorite books on writing. It’s also the first book I ever read on the subject. Although nowadays the how to write industry stands on its own, there was a time when books about the elusive muse and a writer’s trials and tribulations were all so few and far between. It is hard to appreciate a book at all in this excess. So how does a writer stand out in the noise?
Bradbury seems to know the secret.
Have you watched his talk?
In this slim volume, we have a series of essays, compiled from his articles on the subject over a period of thirty years. He makes the writing process sound so simple, writer that he is of essays, short stories, novels, plays and screenplays. He isn’t afraid to write long titles like RUN FAST, STAND STILL, OR,THE THING AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, OR, NEW GHOSTS FROM OLD MINDS, and he believes that writers shouldn’t be afraid. They should be perpetually excited, filled with gusto.
Remember what Dorothea Brande said about using the conscious aspect and unconscious aspect while writing? Well, Bradbury is all about the subterranean thought processes that will heat up the keyboard by thirty degrees. Writers should feel more than everyone else- that’s why they are writers and that’s how they can get the feeling like a virus across to others.
“Be a chameleon, ink-blend, chromosome change with the landscape. Be a pet rock, lie with the dust, rest in the rainwater in the filled barrel by the drainspout outside your grandparents’ window long ago,” he says. Okay, if you can write like that, maybe you are on the right track after all. Bradbury tells us how he wrote 1000 words everyday since he was 12 and that the first good story he wrote was 10 years later. If that isn’t inspiring, what is?
He has a little exercise that you might like. Consider a list of words-preferably nouns- and use those nouns as prompts. Word association activated his muse like nothing else. Have you tried it? This slender book is so good, I might write some more parts. If you haven’t read it yet, well please don’t procrastinate!