Advice from the Masters: Ray Bradbury

Jun 13, 2012 | Better Writing

Ray Bradbury died last week after a lifetime of writing. The Wikipedia article on him summed up that lifetime like this:

“Bradbury is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories. More than eight million copies of his works, published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world.”

That’s impressive. More impressive is the help and inspiration he offered anyone who was willing to work at writing. His book Zen in the Art of Writing is subtitled “Essays on Creativity,” but the essays were really about writing and they’re not so much Zen (a buzzword of the day) as much as good practice. My copy is well-thumbed, highlighted and scribbled in.

So there was a lot of advice to choose from. At first I was going to take the easy way out and use several quotes. If you want a list like that check out “21 Ray Bradbury Quotes: Your Moment of Friday Writing Zen” from Writer’s Digest. Amongst that 21 is one quote that stood out for me. It’s vintage Bradbury and it says something important to anyone who wants to write anything well.

“I absolutely demand of you and everyone I know that they be widely read in every damn field there is; in every religion and every art form and don’t tell me you haven’t got time! There’s plenty of time. You need all of these cross-references. You never know when your head is going to use this fuel, this food for its purposes.”

Your brain is nature’s connection making engine, but if you want it to do its best work, you need to feed it with lots of things to connect. That’s how creativity happens in any field.

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts.

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