Ray Bradbury Gives Some Advice on Writing

So, you want to write?

Okay, good. Ray Bradbury has a few things to say to you:

“You must write every single day of your life.” Even if that means the next 20,000 days. He’d been going to the typewriter daily since he was 12. And he wasn’t precious about it. He could work anytime, morning, noon, night, with the radio on and people talking the Dodgers or the election in the same room.

But it’s not enough just to write. You’ve got to stuff your brain with influences – high, middle, and lowbrow. “You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books,” he would advise you. He himself stuffed his brain with Poe and comic strips and Eudora Welty and an old radio show called Chandu the Magician.

And what you do with all these influences, he’d say to you, is “let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.”

The mind, according to Ray Bradbury, was a fabulous mulch. It was made up of every minute of our lived experience and how we reacted to it, plus all the influences of poems and radio shows and newspaper clippings we pour into it.

So, pour, pour, pour. And then let’em all mash and clash around in your mind to get your creating muscles awake and alive.

“I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime,” he’d say to you. “I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.” And out of all that untamed wildness, make worlds and stories (maybe even ones that help us understand our own world and story).

Okay. Mr. Bradbury’s assigned you these things to do. But he isn’t finished with you. Because he’s a man who believed “the things that you do should be things that you love, and the things that you love, should be things that you do.”

And here is how he sums up his advice on writing to you:

“Which finally means may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

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