Book Recommendation: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
The journey of a writer is a difficult one. Like the painter, the writer has to relish in solitude and maintain focus on his or her inner world. This is easier said than done. A tsunami of worldly concerns and distractions can cause us to wane in our focus and lose sight of the beauty that is our art of writing. That is why it’s really helpful to habitually read the memoirs of established writers such as Haruki Murakami or Stephen King, so that even in our solitude, we have a mentor guiding us through our trials and tribulations.
One such mentor figure I look to from time to time is Ray Bradbury. When I’m writing, reading and studying at a cafe, I often bring his book, Zen in the Art of Writing. With a book like Zen in the Art of Writing, it isn’t as important to learn about the techniques and theory of fiction and storytelling but rather to remind oneself of the joys and gifts of writing. There are countless instructional books on how to go about world-building, developing plot and writing vivid characters, but perhaps the most insightful of books are those that simply celebrate the emotions that a writer feels when he is deeply passionate about his work.
In this collection of memoirs, Bradbury talks about his childhood, how he fell in love with books and the excitement he would feel when following his heart and imagination. You get the sense that here was a man who, no matter how old or successful he became, never stopped being that same boy who escaped to his writing to please himself and create new worlds. Just as inspirational is Ray Bradbury’s adamant conviction that one should write stories that uplift people’s souls and not break their hearts. After all, a story has so much potential power behind it. Its contents, characters, themes and worlds can have an everlasting impact on a reader’s heart, and the writer must take responsibility for this.
If you’re a writer that finds him or herself lost in the journey of writing or just simply want to pick up an enjoyable memoir on fiction and literature, then Zen in the Art of Writing would be an excellent companion to your path of storytelling.
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