Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Over the past few weeks I have become increasingly curious about and fascinated by the mechanics of writing. My fascination is especially around the creative process inside in it. Thus, to satisfy this thirst I am intending on reading interviews, articles and books on writing. And that’s how I came across ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING by Ray Bradbury. It is recommended in many articles and considered one of the motivational ones. So I thought, why not?

This is a collection of twelve essays by Ray Bradbury written at various points of time in his long, rich, fertile and impressive career as a writer. He shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement of a lifetime of writing through these essays. Many of the essays tell his own experience in writing one or another book.

Bradbury inspires me on the point where he tries to explain about his inspiration that comes from ideas buried in his subconscious that bubble up when he just sits and writes about a simple word or idea. He emphasize on the spontaneity while writing. He explains that while writing down a piece of what a writer knows about, he should not ignore the occurrence of the spontaneous ideas during that time. Some of them might be useful. He also emphasizes on practicing writing a lot. For aspiring writers, he has an advice:

Conjure the nouns, alert the secret self, taste the darkness … speak softly, and write any old word that wants to jump out of your nerves onto the page…

I must confess I have not read any other Bradbury’s work, and thus I am not going to comment on his style of writing. On the other hand, the book is less about the craft and mechanics of writing and more about the author’s experience and motivations.

So far, the essays in this book has given me some insight but my thirst to know the mechanics of writing is still not satisfied.

4 out of 5

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15 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury”

  1. I find there are several types of writing books out there: books on craft/mechanics, books on methods (follow these steps to write your novel), and books that talk about the creative process. While they all have their uses, books on process (like Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones) are my favorite kind, and Zen in the Art of Writing is one of the ones I love.

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  2. Read this awhile back, not a “how to” as much as it is a look into Bradbury’s writing process. He is in my top 5 all-time favorite writers. In particular his books, The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine.

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  3. The psychology of it, right? Of writing, of being a writer? Our process fascinates me, but maybe I don’t want it broken down scientifically. Maybe the key is in the title of the book “Zen”. It just is. We just are. When I write, I know who I am. Finding reason and definition may kill that magic. At the moment, I’m nearly jumping out of my skin, needing to write. I need a month off work. God, it gets in the way ;-P

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