Zen in the Art of Writing

Ray Bradbury. 1975
Ray Bradbury 1975.

I heard Ray Bradbury speak at a computer convention in the early ’90s. I enjoyed it, but didn’t recall anything specific advice that he gave.

When in a copyediting course, the teacher mentioned Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing favorably, I bought the book to learn more about his method. Bradbury reveals many interesting sidelights to his career, but two pieces of advice rang especially loud for me.


First, write those things that fill you with zest and gusto. If they fall away from you, your writing will be pedestrian. Start over with gusto and follow its path.

Daily Fresh Writing

Second, write a thousand words a day of fresh story. He did that from twelve to twenty-two and, although he thought the stories dreck, he honed how to smoothly put together words for the time when he found a good idea.

My Craft

Chemistry and computer science took up my time until I retired. I filed story ideas in folders.

Following Bradbury’s advice, I do a thousand words on stories, fleshing them out. Those that retain gusto, I go with and try to improve.

Photo by Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1498920


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