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6.09.2012

10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know: Sage Advice from Ray Bradbury

If you can spare an hour this weekend, spend it with the great Ray Bradbury. The video below is overflowing with wisdom, humor and fascinating tidbits of publishing history. Meanwhile, here's a few of the highlights that stood out for me.


10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know:
1) Before you try a novel, write a short story every week for a year. "I defy you to write 52 bad ones."

2) Don't try to imitate your heroes. You may love them, but you can't be them.

3) Every night for a thousand nights, "stuff your head" with a short story, a  poem ("the great poets, not modern crap"), and an essay from zoology, biology, philosophy or any other field you can think of.

4) Get rid of friends who don't believe in you. "Make a phone call and fire them. Anyone who doesn't believe in you, to hell with them."

5) Live in the library. "I didn't go to college. I couldn't afford that. I graduated from the library when I was 28."

6) Don't take yourself too seriously. "Writing is not a serious business. It's a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun at it... The joy of writing has propelled me."

7) Writer's block is your subconscious saying you picked the wrong subject. "It's your subconscious saying I don't like you anymore. You're being political, writing things to benefit the world. To hell with that. I set out to have fun."

8) Write what you want to write. "Make a list of 10 things you love madly and write about them. Make a list of 10 things you hate and kill 'em."

9) Surprise yourself. "You don't know what's in you until you test it." Don't ask "Will it sell?" Ask "Who am I?"

10) The remarkable thing about life is meeting the people you were destined to meet. So be open when they cross your path.