In Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury warns us not to get distracted by the commercial market or by experimental, avant-garde work, because most likely we are veering from our true self and the writing most suited to our passions and opinions.
He says the writer must be excited. “He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health” (4).
I know sometimes a writer can get in a slump. Life gets hard. We’re exhausted. We feel overwhelmed, depressed, blocked. We can feel like half a writer.
But what if we can tap into that energy Bradbury talks about? What if we write spontaneously about things we love and hate, things that delight and irritate—without second-guessing ourselves? What if we get it all out without worrying about how it will be received or if we are edgy enough or how well it sells? Can we write with that level of freedom and openness?
Let’s try it. Let’s make ourselves laugh and cry with the stories we tell, the memories we drag up, the events we relive, the words we put down.
Write fiction and essays, poetry and blog posts, op-eds and letters to the editor—anything you like, whatever strikes your fancy. Get it down while you’re feeling the energy. Write with gusto. Write with zest.
Write with love.
And for heaven’s sake, have some fun with it. Yes, write with fun.
“[I]f you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.”
— Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Source: Bradbury, Ray. Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1989. Print. (Library) [p. 4]
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