Author Book Review: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Recommended to me by a writing friend who I’ve never met in person, Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury is one of those books I wish I had read years ago.

How, as a speculative fiction writer who has been writing a mix of sci-fi and fantasy for over thirty years, had I never heard of this little tome of writing craft and wisdom from one of the classic giants of science fiction literature?

For what it’s worth, I took some literary classes and when I did take a commercial fiction class, not many writers were sci-fi minded. I heard of Clarion West, but I didn’t attend any of their workshops until this last summer, and so I had missed out on this little book of gems by Ray Bradbury (and many other opportunities for spec fic writers which are practically staring me in the face these days).

I am glad I found out about this book, glad I asked for it for Christmas, glad I received it as a gift, and yet, it did take me nearly all year to read. There was something wonderful about each chapter, but also something I felt like I had to wade through in most chapters. Despite that caveat, I definitely enjoyed it and I do recommend it if you write speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

Even if you are a “literature or die” type of writer, I recommend giving this book a read. Bradbury has much to say about gaining ability in the writing craft by writing and going to the depths of the writing we can each do, in the inner freedom of the voices we each uniquely have.

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury is a collection of essays serving up kick-in-the-pants motivation for an intense, reflective writing practice.

Some quotes I loved (and there were many I tucked away, trust me):

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

And, my favorite, and very indicative of the type of writing year I’ve had:

This post is one of a series. I am reviewing writing craft and writing business books which I have read over decades of writing practice.

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