Zen and the Art of Writing
Bradbury became a phenom at such a young age having climbed to the top of the literary ladder by the time he reached his thirties. Writing Science Fiction mostly, he found his niche early. Bradbury was such a known commodity in Hollywood that was tapped to write the screenplay for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Bradbury has been a personal favorite of mine for many years and I’ve read many if his short stories and novellas many times over Two of my favorite shorts follow:
A Sound of Thunder
This column being about the writing life however should concentrate on books about writing. I DID want to give some background on Bradbury before I plunged into his thoughts on the writing process. Being a writer myself and originally following the same path as Bradbury, writing science fiction and dark fantasy I discovered Zen and the Art of Writing in the mid 1990s when I wrote in that genre. This book is a series of essays and I believe this is where my favorite Bradbury quote appears about writing a first draft:
Writing a First Draft is Like Throwing up on a Page.
Sounds gross, but if you’re a writer and you really dissect its meaning, that passage makes so much sense.
A first draft of ANYTHING requires simply getting your thoughts on paper. Don’t even consider what you’re writing, which is the point Bradbury attempted to get across with that quote. There will be plenty of time, oodles of time to go back and clean up the mess. The first draft is simply spewing forth as quickly as possible before you forget. Just let those synapsis control your fingers as they type on the keyboard.
If you’re a writer or long to be one, this is one book to have in your permanent collection.
Writing Down the Bones
This is another MUST have for the writer or the writer to be. Know the rules first. Then break them. Ms. Goldberg believes there needs to less rules, not more. Bones is a spiritual book as much as it is a lesson on writing. Using facets of meditation and wedding them to the writing practice, Ms Goldberg has created what I think is the first book marrying spirituality and the writing life. This is one of the few books I still own on the writing practice and I find myself pulling it out more frequently than I seriously thought I would. This book can help any number of writers hone their craft and I highly recommend taking a look at it. I’d be willing to bet that once the book is in your hands and you’ve skimmed through its pages that you’ll find yourself agreeing with me.
Picked this book up at the library a few weeks ago as it made its way back through the book drop. Having been a writer all my life, I’m always fascinated by what makes writers tick. As I read this book I felt connected with so much of what the author says.
Dani wrote because she needed to. Writing became her release.
I write because I need to.
Still Writing is different in some ways from the other two books I mention here. This book is more a memoir and what it’s like to live a creative life; the importance of writing every day and what happens when you don’t. A short book, I read it in a couple of days. Because I’m a writer, I felt Ms Shapiro was directing this book to me.
If you’re a writer or know someone who is, Still Writing must be on your shelf.