The other day I was talking to Josh about how I feel like I’m always rushing around and I wish I could be more like all of these mothers you read about, who are always calm and doing leisurely things and being so relaxed in their parenting – a zen mom.
“Yeah,” Josh said, looking at me with a little bit of a squint, “I just have a REALLY hard time imagining you as zen in any way.”
However! After reading Ray Bradbury’s little book Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You I am now prepared to be a zen writer.
Actually the book is not really about being zen; it’s about Bradbury’s approach to writing. I enjoy reading this type of book because it reinforces to me that everyone has a different creative process. You can glean little bits of insight and helpful tips from everyone, but ultimately you have to carve out your own style, whatever your creative outlet may be.
Bradbury’s main approach is word association: he apparently wrote down long lists of random things and after a while he’d have an idea for a story. He was also big on writing with zest and gusto, and, in my favorite piece of advice from the book, admonished writers not to “keep one ear peeled for the avant garde coterie” but to write from your own honest positions.
If you enjoy short enthusiastic essays on the creative process (applicable, I think, to various forms of art, not just writing) you might enjoy this book. It might not get you very far toward zen, but it will give you a few thigns to think about regarding your work.
Note: Sorry for doing three book posts in one week, but we’ve all been sick and sleep-deprived. I hope y’all have a restful and healthy weekend (and that we do too!).
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