Zen in the Art of Writing: Book, Blurb & Collage

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury is one of the most enjoyable call-to-action type books I’ve flipped through.  I know, I say that a lot.  But heck, it feels like Bradbury is s…

Source: Zen in the Art of Writing: Book, Blurb & Collage

I saw this post on the Quintessential Editor blog yesterday and thought it was fantastic, well worth clicking on the link above. In the post it talks about the following ideas that Bradbury puts forward as a way to help your writing. Here they are and my thoughts.

Write every day.

100% agree, not sure I manage to put it into practice.

Read every day.

Ditto. Don’t always read much, but I usually read a bit. I’ve always got a book on the go. Also I try to vary my reading. I mostly write SF and Fantasy, but I try to alternate between books in this genre and others. I think otherwise you can become too narrow in your focus.

Get out in the world and experience life to enrich your writing.

I like the idea, but with a full time job my world mostly concentrates around family and work. Teaching means I spend a lot of time with teenagers which is certainly eye opening on occasion. What I try to do is visit a lot of things, museums, archaeological sites, art galleries etc.

Utilize word association to generate interesting ideas 

I’m going to try this. When my Dad was teaching art school he used to get his students to paint pictures based on randomly picked words. Maybe I should try writing like that.

Activities the readers senses.

This is really important and I heard Jilly Cooper say this on a radio interview. Remember you have 5 senses, include them and the writing comes alive.

Make the skeletons in your childhood closet dance.

Growing up in a 1970s beatnik family with a Surrealist artist for a father is probably fertile ground but I’m not going there yet.

Write a short story every week for at least five years.

Would love to do this but it would have to wait until I retire from teaching. Plus although this is a disciplined approach, I think the pressure to complete story after story could just result in rubbish. Also when do you write your novel?

Play with story ideas for years before you bother trying to write them.

I think this is allowable but not mandatory. Certainly I think collecting ideas and letting them hand around in the background is great.

Write like a man/woman possessed by the gods.

Yeah, why not.


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