How to Become a Better Writer: Inspiration from Bradbury

in writing •  3 months ago

Learn how to become a better writer by following the advice of the legendary author Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury.png

Whether you came to Steemit with a passion for writing, or you're here for other reasons, you likely want to become a better writer. You think the better you are, the more success you'll have - more followers, more comments, more upvotes, more money, more (insert something you care about here).

Thankfully, writing is a skill. One that you can improve with some time and effort. In his Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451 and hundreds of short stories) tells us how he learned to write better while telling his life story. He shares his downfalls and his triumphs as well as advice he thinks every writer should embrace.

I've pulled out some of his suggestions that can help you be a better writer, whether it’s to blog on Steemit, short stories, poetry or the next best-selling novel. I think you'll appreciate his wisdom - and his humor.

Include Reading in Your Muse's Diet

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One of the chapters is entitled "How to Keep and Feed a Muse." The phrase "finding your muse" used to be quite common, but not so much anymore. It refers to your source of inspiration but personified - at least as Bradbury writes about it. For him, it is a singularly feminine energy that needs proper care and feeding.

The muse's diet consists of many things, but one of the most important is reading. He suggests,

Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don't use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition.

And he adds,

In your reading, find books to improve your color sense, your sense of shape and size in the world....Poetry, essays. What about short stories, novels? Of course.

Reading is one of the most important things you can do on your journey to become a better writer. It feeds your muse and provides you the information, the experience, the raw data from which you can create your blogs, stories or poems. Trying to write without reading is like training to be a sculptor without ever seeing a statue.

Find and Release Your Voice

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Bradbury begins his book with a story about his nine-year-old self. He loved Buck Rogers and his adventures. So much so that he began trying to write his own stories. He wrote for years, with some success. But even then he tells us that he wasn't a good writer,

I grew up reading and loving the traditional ghost stories of Dickens, Lovecraft, Poe, and later, Kuttner, Bloch, and Clark Ashton Smith. I tried to write stories heavily influenced by various of these writers, and succeeded in making quadruplelayered mudpies, all language and style, that would not float, and sank without a trace. I was too young to identify my problem, I was so busy imitating.

As writers, the process of finding our voice is crucial to our success. Not necessarily commercial success, but it can be. Our voice isn't just a style, but the essence of what lies behind it. It is us, on the page. It is both terrifying and electrifying when we set it free. Here is how Bradbury describes it:

I finally found it one afternoon when I was twenty-two years old. I wrote the title "The Lake" on the first page of a story that finished itself two hours later. Two hours after that I was sitting at my typewriter out on a porch in the sun, with tears running off the tip of my nose, and the hair on my neck standing up.
Why the arousal of hair and the dripping nose?
I realized I had at last written a really fine story. The first, in ten years of writing.

Wow. You can have moments like that when you write authentically. Without trying to copy, emulate, or critique as you go. It doesn't have to be a career-changing work of fiction as it was for Bradbury. It might just be the most awesome blog you've ever written on Steemit.

How do you find your voice? Write and write some more.

Write more

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One of Bradbury's main suggestions is to write. A lot. No, he wants you to commit to writing every day. He recommends,

Something like this. One-thousand or two-thousand words every day for the next twenty years. At the start, you might shoot for one short story a week, fifty-two stories a year, for five years. You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this medium. You might as well start now and get the necessary work done. For I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality.

To prove his point he reminds us of great artists like da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Tintoretto. They practiced their art over and over before they produced the works that made them famous. In an example from more recent times, he talks how surgeons practice performing their procedures long before they ever actually do one.

If you google 'Ray Bradbury writing challenge' you'll find many who have taken up the charge to create one short story a week for at least a year. He's often quoted as having said it's impossible to write 52 bad stories in a row. But in Zen in the Art of Writing he merely points out that one should never consider some of the short stories failures. Even if they aren't good, they were part of the process of creating the ones that were great.

Never give up

Bradbury is asking a lot of aspiring writers. He wants them to spend copious amounts of time reading. And also spend their days writing and then writing some more. Is he asking too much? Do you think you can do it?

Yes, I think you can. The last words of his wisdom that I'll share explain why:

There is no failure unless one stops.

No one is perfect. And in our world, there are few of us that can spend the amount of time writing that he says is necessary. But as long as you keep writing, as much and as often as you can, his principle will still apply. Don't stop, don't ever give up.

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These tips are really inspiring and I think everyone who want to become a better writer must read this blog.

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Not everyone has this potential and time available 👍

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Exactly right about the time @tamash. Not everyone can put this much time into writing, but I believe everyone has potential - more than they know. Not everyone can be a Bradbury but they can be the best writer they can be by following the ideas he lays out even if not to the same extent.

Well done on the words, I liked it ..
Great post from you
Thanks for sharing..

great post

Amazing post, I love Bradbury. He remembers me highschool and inspire me to write...

I'm a writer, my writing on Steemit is mainly poetry, but I'm considering writing short stories on here as well. Lately, I have an interest for Agatha Christie novels, time to visit the local library I guess.

Think • Read • Write • Repeat
A process to live by!

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That sums it up really well!

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That sums it up really well!

As writers, the process of finding our voice is crucial to our success. Not necessarily commercial success, but it can be.

This speaks volume and your final paragraph as well. We succeed in every way. It may not be as successful as others but in our own way. We have our own goals, our own mountains to climb. It's not about the social standards or the standards of others that we should be aiming for but of our own. We know what we can do. We have the necessary tools to improve and we can do.

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I'm glad this point hit home with you. So often people, writers especially, seemed to judge their success based on some arbitrary standard - how many stories published, how much money they've made, who they've worked with - whatever. But success is individual and we know when we find it even if it isn't obvious to others.

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I use to beat up myself and stressed from the pressure I get because of waht people around me dictates and what is expected of me. It took a long time for me to realize that I do not have to put myself in the league of others because I have my own road to travel.

thanks for sharing. I really like the thing about reading more poetry, I'm going to start doing that

Interesting piece. I hope to put this into practice. Thank you for the encouragement and enlightenment

Exactly! i try to write everyday so I can improve my writing skills.

This post has some of the best advice a person can receive about writing. It has helped me a lot. Especially when it comes to writing every day. Sometimes it's hard to find the will, the time, the right inspiration... But you don't have to write a story all the time. Just write whatever comes to your mind, ideas, notes, things that happened to you, things you heard. What is important is that you keep writing.

Lovely one. Poetry is life for budding writers alike. I learnt a lot from this piece. I hope to build on this tremendously as a neophyte here. Thanks and regards.

I don't think I could commit to writing like that for 20 years or more. But I do like to write in my personal journal on a daily basis and read too. Thanks for posting.

I've not been a real fan of Bradbury's novels, but I certainly respect him as a dedicated, committed author. His advice about extensive writing has been my own hue and cry for decades. Here is an article that I posted last month that emphasizes this admonition. Willing to Write Bad to Get Good. Check it out!

Excelente publicación, sin duda escribir es una de las artes que mas requiere trabajo y dedicación.

Thank you for sharing these helpful writing tips!

RAY NEVER would have imagined that the work was not done by the fire but by MEMES ... Why should you read a novel more or less bigger if you can read many and many memes? Hehehe But, in spite of everything, it's true: We must Never give up

Greetings from a venezuelan writer and minnow... I´ll follow you, of course...

Great write up. I am not a natural writer, but am working to improve my writing as a way to manage my thoughts and feelings. This article gives me so much hope that as I continue to write and learn from others that I can be a great contributor.

Check out the interview with Dan Larimer on my channel A382E67B-7AA0-408E-94B5-B35FD7D96260.jpegEA0064B8-951B-4157-A6B7-A5B1D7508EDC.jpeg45CFCBBD-0FA2-49B4-AE3D-1C687B75DD8A.jpeg

Buena informacion a los amantes a la escritura

Short and sweet... Those who doesn't have time to ponder about exploring HOW TO BECOME A GOOD WRITER this post is promising one..

Thank you for posting this... And stay blessed

wow, I loved your article .. A pleasure, I'm new on this platform and your article is one of the first I see and it's so good, I invite you to visit my profile, there I introduce myself.

Congratulations... Loved it this post... I love writing and poetry too..

hmm, good advice! I need to start reading more.

This very informative, am glad I bumped onto this post. Am enlightened and have learn some few ideas towards becoming a better writer, thanks..

Because of this post I just got two books on writing development! Thank you! Also if anybody needs a website to download books check out b-ok on google search!

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Also if you wouldn't mind checking out my first article I would greatly appreciate your time! https://steemit.com/philosophy/@honest-assholes/artificial-intelligence-and-our-purpose-in-society

thank you for your share it. i love it.

You got a 46.02% upvote from @upmewhale courtesy of @hyperfundit.supp!

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Great post! I'm a writer also and my pen name comes from Bradbury's novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Visit my blog if you have the time!

Great little article this one, something I certainly have been trying to work on as I am a journalist and someone who regularly blogs on steemit as well :)

Thanks so much, will definitely take this into consideration :)

Henry

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Upvoted and also resteemed :)

Great! I got some new tips from you. :D Thanks for sharing!

Hana metstuoh tan lheh put hom

i guess you must have alot of good thoughts to start off with.

Thank you for reminding me about Bradbury's "Zen in the Art of Writing." :) I bought it a couple of years ago and I haven't read it yet, but I'll be pulling it out tonight.

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Awesome!

Thanks for introducing me with such an amazing tips from such an amazing writer! Upvoted! Resteemed!

Thanks a lot for sharing this post, it's useful advice for new writer like me. I think we can apply some of Bradbury's advice to start writing and can be a better writer.

Very useful advise. Relevant article.

Poetry is the bedrock of philosophy. Philosophy = Logic = Maths / only langs differ.

Wow....so much information packed in just one post..i have to give it to you. This is a wonderful write up
I really find my self lazy in reading books because i feel i know what the author will say but this has opened my eyes to see reading as a key Ingredient to Success in writing

thank you for sharing this to us.,

I loved the tips, I am only starting but will remember your advices!

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A great article, indeed. Helpful 👍🏻

many great story came from a very sad Story, even tragic. so sometime you have to suffer to write a great story.

Fact show that.

this is amazing...

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As you pointed out 'never give up' is probably the most important. Patience is not often found in our modern fast life.
Thanks you for the informative post.

Very inspirational. The title of this post attracted and i was not disappointed. I like the motivational support where it teaches me how to improve many of us just by reading this post of yours! thanks for sharing.

Hope to see more of these posts! thank you

On the way of ascension,
Man is the nation. .
the books ...
book foto 1.jpg

Great post! I am hoping it will be the kick in the ass I need to start writing more.

good advice, i like writing, and will do more.. thanks for sharing..cheers

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"Don't stop, never give up" Advice like this apparently are simple, are common knowledge for anybody who want write something, but ... Sometimes we forget it.
And feels good remember it.

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It is easy to forget @writtenlegend. Especially when there are people at every turn telling you it's not possible to succeed, or you're not talented enough, or it's not practical or any of the negative feedback well-meaning friends and family might give.

Just keep doing it because you can get better and succeed as long as you keep trying.

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Exactly!, many thanks.

Amazing post, I'll put into practice!

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hello friend steemias.saya really enjoy the shadow that you give like picture and meme your post really very extraordinary and very bermamfaat for me and also for friend of syeemian all amiin hopefully your post progressively good to forward. i really like it and i will share to all steemit colleagues all. thanks for the post.

very very infotmative post
The person who want to be a good writer he/she have to read this post and follow accordingly.
this post helps a lot to achieve the goal to be a good writer

Hello, thank you for adding to Steemit !

I've upvoted and Followed you; Please Follow back and we can Collaboration each other to succeed :)

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What a great advice, my friend, I hope to follow up on this information that is very useful.

Nice article!! I am greatly inspired

How to Become a Better Writer: Inspiration from Bradbury has been resteemed by @resteemmuse

where there is a will, there is a way. I was moved by this sentence. I 'm so addicted to reading steemit that I forgot to read other books. I noticed that reading is required in order to become a good writer. I didn't know the relationship of voice and writing. thank you for good information.

Excellent advice. Thanks for sharing this.

Stephen King's book "On Writing" is also very useful, with a strong focus on economy and simplicity in word choice, and avoiding the passive tense.

Also, the best sentences usually contain subtext.

This is really an interesting fact i love to read and thank

Wow! I love this post,have always loved writing but there are many times when what to write about was no where to be found,i keep on thinking and thinking but not getting the writing satisfaction the inner me wanted, @hyperfundit. com inspiration post has given me clues in making my hobby enjoyable especially as a new steemian.

buena publicacion

Maybe not all of us have the potential for writing, but if I know that if you are willing and persevere, you will achieve it, everything is in the interest that you feel for wanting to do things and write. But your advice is great, grateful.

These are fantastic tips.
I will take it to improve my writing. Thank you

Excelente, pero yo diría: _Intentar escribir sin leer es como entrenar para ser boxeador sin saber pelear.

This post is really helpful for the new writers great tips i love this post thanks for this post.

Fascinating. Most of this I already do as a writer, but I particularly love his description of crying from being touched by his own work.. I have actually achieved that a few times--but not many. It certainly is a life-changing experience for a writer when it happens, and it does give you a real rush of adrenaline to keep writing for awhile. Intense.

Nice post. I grew up with science fiction guys like Bradbury, Asimov and
fantasy writers like Lewis and Tolkien, so this hits especially close to home for me.

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It is amazing to feel so much emotion when the writing flows like he says. Those moments feed the rest I think, but it's also important to remember his point about the writing that doesn't come out so well. All the writing serves a purpose even when we think it isn't very good.

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Right...sometimes we need to push through thickety valleys to reach the mountaintops.

gracias por esta información tan interesante

interesante mensaje

Good tips ! We just need a clear mind so we can do it all ...

Writing more and more and more until you become the process itself. Until you breathe with it and live with it.

Thanks for the inspiration! Knowledge is gold!

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Love these! I just finished Stephen King's book On Writing which sounds similar: part memoir, part writing advice.

The two common themes: Write a lot and read a lot!

Thanks for sharing. I love hearing advice from the greats.

Good post my friend. These tips are really inspiring and I think that all those who want to become better writers should read this blog and follow your information closely. @hyperfundit.