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  • Writing Video #1: Practice Your Craft Like the Late, Great Ray Bradbury
Writing Video #1: Practice Your Craft Like the Late, Great Ray Bradbury
Written by
Kendra Bonnett
June 2012
Written by
Kendra Bonnett
June 2012

Kendra Bonnett, She Writes Guest Editor and Co-Founder of Women's Memoirs

In preparation for developing our new book Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep, my co-author and business partner Matilda Butler and I spent a lot of time studying the writing advice of the masters of our craft.

Last week, Matilda shared the words and wisdom of Dorothy Parker. This week, I want to give you a smorgasbord of tips from some of my favorite authors.

Remembering Ray Bradbury

I start this week, I think appropriately, with Ray Bradbury since we lost him almost two weeks ago. Bradbury has been an inspiration and teacher to generations of horror and science fiction writers. His own career spanned 71 years. He sold his first short piece at the age of 20 and submitted his last essay to The New Yorkerjust a week before he died at 91.

The depth and breadth of Bradbury's career should be enough to inspire any writer--almost 30 novels, dozens of collections of short stories, film and television productions. And if you've read his 1990 collection of essays on writing, entitled Zen in the Art of Writing, you probably count Bradbury among your mentors as well.

Here's a short video about Bradbury's belief in and personal commitment to practice that I posted on YouTube almost two years ago. Note my subtitle for the video: Transcend the Work of Writing.

The Lesson of Ray Bradbury

As writers, Bradbury should be our teacher, our mentor, our patron saint because he believed in us. He believed that with enough effort spent writing, we can all find our voice, our flow. As he wrote in his original 1973 essay "Zen in the Art of Writing,"

"You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this medium. You might as well start now and get the necessary work done.
"For I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality."

And when you "are comfortable in this medium," that's when the work gives way to relaxation and not thinking. That's the Zen of writing...that transcendence from work to writing.

I hope Bradbury's words inspire you this Sunday to practice your art. If you're having trouble finding ideas for your stories, follow me to a blog about storytelling.

If you want to learn more about Matilda's and my new book, Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep, click here. We have some special pre-order pricing you can take advantage of for just a few more days.

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  • Kendra Bonnett

    Well Congratulations, Nancy, on your about-to-be-released memoir. I have a very close friend--former Marine--with the same problem. With understanding and a lot of talking through issues, I'm happy to say he's made real progress. And I"m right with you regarding the gems you can learn and the inspiration you can absorb from the great writers. Matilda and I both feel we've learned the most in the process of creating Writing Alchemy. Of course, I'm prejudiced, but I do believe that it is a worthwhile book...filled with a lot of techniques you won't find in most other books. The best of luck with your book...of course the hard work is just beginning. You need to market and sell your memoir. 

  • Nancy MacMillan

    I read Ray Bradbury for decades but never studied his work, nor the work of others until I began writing my memoir. Now I devour great writers guidelines with passion because I've learned so much and it made my work better. My memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with PTSD, will be released in early July, but I'm drawn to buy "Zen" and your "Writing Alchemy." Writing is now in my blood and I want to pick all the great brains. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kendra Bonnett

    Well, thank you for your nice remarks Lisa. I'm not a sci fi fan myself, but I have come to appreciate Bradbury's excellent writing advice. Glad you enjoyed this.

  • Kendra Bonnett

    Maggie, sometimes we just need a little relaxing inspiration.

  • Kendra Bonnett

    Glad you liked it, Daphne. He is an inspiration to keep practicing. What an amazing career this man had.

  • maggie brooke

    although reading/listening to your blog is not actually me writing and rewriting, it IS an inspiring way to relax. thanx.

  • Daphne Q

    Thanks for posting this, Kendra. I really only knew Mr. Bradbury from "Farenheit 451." I can see he was much more than just that one book.