Friday, August 24, 2012

Digging Up That Passion


If you want books on writing I'd recommend memoirs rather than the how-to books. Don't get me wrong, the how-to books are awesome, I own and still use plenty of them but, I got much more from Stephen King's On Writing, Joyce Carole Oates' Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art  and Terry Brooks' Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life. You read one paragraph, one sentence and suddenly, you're itching to dive into your novel.

We writers look at the world differently. Everything is a potential story. This can drive me a little crazy, especially since I write dark fiction. I sought out these memoirs to know I'm not the only one feeling this way or thinking this way. It's nice to know some of the big names struggled with writing, with making a living as a writer. Books like these give you permission to be the writer you want to be not the one you think you should be.

I'm now into Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and it's amazing. I was floored to find out this book was published in the 90s. I'd never heard of it. What rock have I been living under? I may not be into nonfiction but I like being aware of notable books on writing.

This book is a collection of essays Bradbury wrote on creativity. He approaches writing like it's some wild adventure. You can feel the passion and excitement in every word and it's infectious. I love writing but it's a lot of work and it feels like my second novel permanently fried my brain but this book has me pumped.
"I hope we will not get too serious here, for seriousness is the Red Death if we let it move to freely amongst us. Its freedom is our prison and our defeat and death. A good idea should worry us like a dog. We should not, in turn, worry it into the grave, smother it with intellect pontificate it into snoozing, kill it with the death of a thousand analytical slices."
Awesome image!

Memoirs by famous authors are a fierce jolt through the heart or a powerful size 15 boot in the butt. Recently, I noticed writing has become something I simply do. It's been so ingrained in me that all the passion was just gone.

Because of Zen in the Art of Writing, parts of my story are falling into place. Sometimes, I'm staring at the words in the book but not reading them because something Bradbury said "fed the muse" and I start writing scenes in my head. It's awesome.
"Each of you, curious about creativity, wants to make contact with that thing in yourself that is truly original. You want fame and fortune, yes, but only as rewards for work well and truly done. Notoriety and a fat bank balance must come after everything else is finished and done. That means that they cannot even be considered while you are at the typewriter....
 What is the greatest reward a writer can have? Isn't it that day when someone rushes up to you, his face bursting with honestly, his eyes afire with admiration and cries 'That new story of yours was fine, really wonderful!'"
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