My book review of 'Zen in the Art of Writing' by Ray Bradbury

by Ray Bradbury
Zen in the Art of Writing
by Ray Bradbury

It's full of inspiring words, but also offers a realistic perspective on the creative process and it doubles as a memoir of the writer's life too. All in a very slim volume.

Bradbury wrote story after story until he got published, and then he kept writing stories to bring in money to raise his family. He couldn't wait for the muse to strike but would sit and write a word and then another word and another until he had something he could submit. But it wasn't a chore. His delight and enthusiasm for writing is evident and contagious.

"If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer," Bradbury writes. "It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don’t even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is – excited."

He says to treat ideas like cats: "make them follow you". And believes "there is no failure unless one stops."

"What we are trying to do," he says, "is to find a way to release the truth that lies in all of us."

His excitement, passion, thrill with writing is great to read and a real inspiration. And it can be applied to all forms of creativity, and life. 

Review date: August 2022
Publication date: 21st May 2015