Monday, 9 November 2020

Writing Advice From Ray Bradbury

"I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now: Don’t think!"

Ray Bradbury was one of the most well-known sci-fi writers of the 20th and 21st centuries and not only did he write a lot of books that were also made into movies (Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, to name a few), but he also gave out a lot of advice to would-be and beginner writers, advice which was also useful to even published writers of all genres.

But there is one bit of advice that he gave during one of his seminars and many people have not only tried it, but found it to be extraordinary useful to help them not only write better, but write more and earn more.

And that advice is as follows:

The problem with novels is that you can spend a whole year writing one and it might not turn out well because you haven’t learned to write yet. But the best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start—but at least you’re practicing and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done.

And that's it. So simple yet so effective.

What he's saying is that writing a novel not only takes up time and a lot of effort, but it doesn't allow you to experiment with different styles and ways of writing. But short stories allow you to try out lots of different genres too.

It also gets you into the habit of writing every day which is what we all need to be doing.

Zen in the Art of Writing
This is more than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. In it, Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

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