“For the first thing a writer should be is — 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 would be better for his health.” — Ray Bradbury, “The Joy of Writing,” 1973 and 1990
I called up Zen in the Art of Writing again Monday because I found myself between audiobooks and thought maybe I could use a good dose of Bradbury. Of course I did. How do I forget this? I need to just schedule a regular Bradbury injection.
Bradbury writes about hurling your love or hate (what makes you passionate) into your writing: Throw down what you’re doing, “leap to your typewriter and ride off with hilarious anger.”
In other words: Be hot or cold but never lukewarm. What makes you burn? What chills you to the bone? Rabbit those words into the cosmos, forget the meh words.
Elsewhere in Zen Bradbury writes about showing up every day, citing the musician’s oft-quoted quote about if I skip practice one day I can tell, two days the critics can tell, and three days the world sees. The idea of daily practice resonates with me, and I have little doubt that a regular reader could pick out the work I’ve posted after missing the routine for three days or more.
And sometimes I forget to look to my zest and see to my gusto, which is also part of Bradbury’s charge to his writer/readers. I can tell when I’ve written something I pulled from my core: Those are the posts where I worry if I’ve revealed too much of myself. I suspect Bradbury would laugh and say, “You should have revealed even more.”