Zen in the art of writing – Book Review

Author: Ray Bradbury

Print Copy | Kindle

 

This is the first book I started in the series of books I collected to improve my writing skills. I have been frantically searching in the book for advice on how to write better but I hardly found any. Probably I found one in a chapter. I felt I was not the intelligent to understand the meaning which is being conveyed in between the words.

 

His style of writing is great. It is simple and entertaining. That is a style which I want to learn. But writing something so crisply is definitely an art. One thing which has been iterated over and over in the book is keep writing. Just keep writing till you get good at it. Whatever he has written is about the life we lead daily. He wrote about things which were close to his heart, which happened in his surroundings, in his family and for his friends. There were times when I wanted to just stop reading the book because the same thing has been mentioned over and over. But then I wanted to become intelligent enough to appreciate the book.

 

A writer like him can’t get famous by writing so incoherently. There might be something in what he has written which is really great. I was in search of that.

 

I do the same as he does. I write down the dreams I had last night before I forget. I have been making note of every small thing I think is worth writing about. Being a writer is not easy. It needs constant work. And there is immeasurable joy in it.

 

As I kept questioning myself what was the message being conveyed I found that he was asking us to write fiction which will make the readers think. It will give them ideas and make them feel hooked to the book. We need to write in such a way that it is a story which everyone wants to read. But in the end it should show how a problem can be solved too. If a piece of writing is written well, it improves the speed of the reader too. I usually take a lot of time to read a page. But this one, I was able to read at half the speed.

 

As I read further, I digged another gold mine where he explicitly mentions that editing is like cutting the patient without killing him. He tells that even though it is is difficult to do multiple cuttings that is what makes the writing better. If you are saying something in 6 sentences can the same be told in 2 sentences? It is an attitude every writer should develop. But it just not in writing. But it is an advise which will be useful everywhere.

 

He spoke about why you should not just see only excellent films. He watched every film out there. Excellent films are mysterious. It is the bad films which teach us what not to do. A few weeks back I bought a book as I was curious about a topic. After reading a few chapters, I thought I can write better than that author. I regretted the money I spent on it. But now I am glad that I know what kind of a writer I should not be.

 

There are so many words which I don’t know in this book. After a certain point I felt tired of searching for the meanings of the word as it was coming in between my comprehension.

 

Finally comes the chapter name zen in the art of writing. There he tells 3 points – work, relaxation, don’t think.

 

Quotes:

 

And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.

 

Remember that pianist who said that if he did not practice every day he would know, if he did not practice for two days, the critics would know, after three days, his audiences would know.

 

It is the personal observation, the odd fancy, the strange conceit, that pays off.

 

Read poetry every day of your life. Because in order to convince your reader that he is there, you must assault each of his senses, in turn, with color, sound, taste, and texture. 

 

Book mentioned:
  • Becoming a writer by Dorothea brande

 

Happy reading zen!

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