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Zen in the Art of Writing

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  6,050 ratings  ·  502 reviews
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experi ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published March 1st 1992 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1987)
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Federica It's great! If you're looking for some advices while trying becoming a writer, this is a book you shall read! It's good even if you just want to…moreIt's great! If you're looking for some advices while trying becoming a writer, this is a book you shall read! It's good even if you just want to improve your writing skills(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
WHOOP! POW! Ray Bradbury's book on writing is BAMMO! The man's enthusiasm leaps off the page, and if nothing else, that exuberance will carry you with a full head of steam straight from this book and into your own book. Reading Zen in the Art of Writing is like having the best kind of encouraging friend pat you on the back while shouting "YOU CAN DO IT!!!"

Although some of his ideas and style is dated, there's still a great deal to be absorbed herein, after all, he is one of the best American wr
...more
Riku Sayuj
Nothing particularly new is told but Ray writes with such a passion and gusto that the book becomes a joy to read. References to stories and novels that I have not read abound and hence it was difficult to follow the train of thought. The poems at the end were a real bonus.
Shane
There are a lot of reviews written about this short but excellent book written in the tradition of Stephen King's "On Writing", or the other way around, given that Bradbury wrote his tome first. Yet there is an energy in this book that is infectious and it points the finger to us as writers to say - "get serious about this art or get out." His prescriptions for writing are no less demanding:
1) Write one short story a week for 5 years. Perhaps after this rigour, some good stuff might come out (Br
...more
Tina
Short version: This is the best writing book I have ever read.
Long version: This isn't going to be a very eloquent review. Good books on writing are difficult to find. For several of my classes, professors have assigned books about writing techniques, and all of them have been terrible. Some of them have graphs, others have ways of mapping out character development, but generally these books try to break writing down to its skeletal form and make a biology lesson of it. It ends up being overly
...more
Jason
Aug 16, 2007 Jason added it
If you're looking for the book that finally teaches you everything you ever wanted to know about writing - the book that will finally give you the key to the famous author's success - this one isn't for you. On one hand, no such book exists. On the other, Ray Bradbury's "Zen and the Art of Writing" is less about the craft and mechanics of writing than one man's passion and zeal for good old-fashioned fun stories.

Bradbury has been criticized for being overly sentimental and rightfully so. At tim
...more
Jessica
"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."
Larraine
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!"

I'm not sure what prompted me to read this book. There's a part of me that's always wanted to write, but I've lacked the self discipline. Of course, I also lack self confidence. Unlike most writers, I have never felt the need to write every day. At least, I didn't think I did.



I remember being asked to write a
...more
Tom
Read this while sitting in the basement of the Camden, NJ courthouse, wearing my Juror badge, and trying not to hear CNN's droningly repetitive news coverage (although, have you seen the image of all the dead birds in Arkansas? Jesus, the plagues have begun) and I picked it because it was pocket-sized and figured to be an easy read. Which it was. Not to say it was particularly fulfilling or interesting. There are a handful of pages in here that have legitimate, useful writing advice, although mo ...more
Jim
Mar 09, 2008 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writer's seeking motivation and Bradbury Fans
Recommended to Jim by: Chuck Palahniuk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ananthu
" But what would happen is that the world would catch up with and try to sicken you. If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."


Ray Bradbury's love and exuberance for writing and life are contagious. They gush out of the pages, relentlessly and full of vigor, dousing and washing you over from head to toe, and if they don't make You, my dear aspiring writer, rush to
...more
Angie
Bradbury himself recommended this book to me.

"If anything is taught here, it is simply the charting of the life of someone who started out to somewhere--and went."

This book could have been better edited; some of the essays overlap too much and I feel like there's too much of an emphasis on Bradbury's own work. In a way, though, this feels genuine enough to the point that it doesn't smack of egotism; he makes it sound so simple to write that any well-meaning idiot like himself could do it.

Still,
...more
Kate Savage
Do I want to try to write like Ray Bradbury? No, I don't think so. But I once sat in that middle school English class listening to a cassette tape with the gravelly-voice narration of The Veldt and thought the shudder in my spine was some holy spirit saying I had found the apex of the literary arts. And anyway I'm desperate and will take advice anywhere.

Here's a list of his most compelling pointers:
1) Write every day.
2) Make a list of nouns that get at you in some way.
These will be the centers
...more
John
Zen in the Art of Writing is a collection of Bradbury essays garnered from a wide variety of publications over a span of twenty years or so--making it a very uneven little book indeed. A couple of the essays were written as introductions to his novels, and reading them without that context makes them feel rather misplaced and self-congratulatory. Much of the book is autobiographical in nature, and, other than giving you a glimpse into Bradbury's own creative process (which I don't think would wo ...more
David
Bradbury's enthusiasm for stories and the act of writing can be infectious if you're in a receptive mood. He peppers his writing with exclamation points and salts it with italics. Certainly no one can say he's not written these essays with plenty of flavor.

The essays are part autobiography and part encouragement and delight. Being written for different audiences over a long span of years, they do not make a seamless whole. There is a certain amount of repetition - dandelion wine, anyone? How abo
...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
Worth for the enthusiasm and rigor with which it affirms one's need to write.

Bradbury has some interesting views on writing, derived from his liking for Zen philosophy. He has one such insight that I liked the most: write un-self-consciously (like in a state of thought-less-ness), keep flowing on paper like a river does, without pausing or thinking; "hesitate and there comes the thought," he says. Interesting, but what about plot, setting, character development, and structure - above all, the s
...more
Richard
"A dynamic speaker with a booming, distinctive voice, Bradbury could be blunt and gruff, but he was also a gregarious and friendly man, approachable in public and often generous with his time to readers as well as fellow writers.

In 2009, at a lecture celebrating the first anniversary of a small library in Southern California's San Gabriel Valley, he exhorted his listeners to live their lives as he said he had lived his: 'Do what you love and love what you do.'

'If someone tells you to do somethin
...more
Lauren (the Pink Avenger)
Dear Mr. Bradbury,
Dude, your essays have lots of metaphors, and I mean that in a positive way! Maybe not the nicest way possible, since I tend to have an instinctive distrust of metaphors. But I can appreciate them, or at least I can try since I know they're kind of essential to the power of your writing.
I first came across your writing when I was a small grade school kid, and I got my hands on The Illustrated Man and other stories. I knew even as a child, this was good stuff, but for some reaso
...more
Darlene
Jun 25, 2014 Darlene rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Darlene by: ?
Shelves: writing, on-writing
Should I start with the good or the bad about this book? Eh, I'll just let it flow as it comes to me.

This was the paperback. The font was so tiny and the spaces between lines was tiny. I could only digest a page or two at a time.

This is written by a male who only spoke of mankind. Oh, he spoke of his wife a couple times. Once he said, and I can't find it to quote exactly, that his wife was appropriately quiet in response to his great idea. I know this was a time when women should be the rib and
...more
Brian Kelley
One-quarter interesting anecdote.

One-quarter self-indulgence.

One-half helter-skelter explanation of how a writer could work.

Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing fails miserably if you are a writer or a teacher looking for professional guidance, a few pointers, an exercise to hone your skills, or feelings of simpatico. A collection of essays, each uses one of Bradbury's flagship stories as the backdrop of what should be a useful central message.

Ok, it is interesting that for a stretch he pump
...more
Joseph R.
The front cover of this book reads, "Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius within You." It makes the reader think it's a how-to book about writing, or, perhaps worse, a self-help book. Thankful, it's neither. The essays included in this volume (including one with the title "Zen in the Art of Writing") are Bradbury's reflections on his writing career, his inspirations, and his advice based on those experiences.

Several essays tell of his experience writing one or another book, e
...more
Astrid
Apr 03, 2011 Astrid rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves writing
"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. "
it's not a technical book that would describe how-to , 10 keys to or such thing.
it's purely a little bit "behind the scene" of the writing passion of Ray Bradbury . I haven't read any of his book. And maybe that's why I was reading this book without any specific valuation of his writings. That kind of help me to like him in a certain way.
I do learn
...more
Lins
As others have said in reviews of this book, it is not a 'how-to' guide, it will not teach you how to write best sellers, it will not give you the top ten ways to reach a publisher... it is a look into the writing process of Ray Bradbury, a writer with a keen mind and a brilliant turn of phrase.

This book is made up of a series of essays, each with a different focus. There are certainly a few excellent tips contained within these pages, and and aspiring writer would I think glean a few kernels of
...more
Timothy Judd
INTRO

Ray Bradbury's ZEN in the Art of Writing is a collection of essays similar to the C.V. portion of On Writing by Stephen King. Bradbury relates how he became a writer and reveals his perceptions of what writing is. He does offer some guidance on how to approach the craft but, like King's work, his exploration of technique is thin. The fundamental difference, as we'll see in the preface, is Bradbury never promises to teach, instead asserting his book as more of a survival guide.

PREFACE

This bo
...more
Quinn Irwin
I may have enjoyed this book had Bradbury composed his essays with much less "ZEST" and "GUSTO"--and certainly with far fewer exclamation points--and with much more thought, an approach to writing exactly the opposite of how Bradbury advises his readers to write in his first essay. While I enjoy Bradbury's fiction, this collection of essays, marketed as thoughts about writing, is really a collection of short autobiographical musings about his work, and these self-indulgent musings are neither th ...more
S.
everyone on goodreads is so nice. it's like lowering yourself into an ancient volcanic sinkhole on bali filled with warm, soothing water. tiny bubbles are rising up out of the sinkhole floor, and the sensation resembles... well, like a gigantic tongue tickling you. you're completely naked. all around are dark-skinned bare-breasted balinese girls strumming the lyre, picking mango fruit off the trees, and there's no religion anywhere! no guy in a white shirt and black tie trying to sell you the ch ...more
ayrdaomei
Sep 25, 2012 ayrdaomei rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers, aspiring writers, creative types
Shelves: finished
Took advantage of 11 hours of flying time and a 5 hour layover to finally read this collection of essays from Ray Bradbury on writing. Read straight through, this collection can't help but be a bit repetitive (the essays were written in different decades, for different publications, but Bradbury continually draws from his own experiences as a young writer in making his points). Yet the points being made and remade are good ones so I wasn't complaining.

Bradbury ascribes to the notion that writing
...more
Jon
Every time I return to Bradbury it's a treat and I wonder why it took me so long to pick him up again. Well, it's nice to know the future holds more returns to Bradbury, so I'll probably keep reading him at the same pace.

Zen in the Art of Writing is more fun than anything else, which I think is central to Bradbury's point: if writing isn't in some way fun, then we might wanna reconsider our wish to write. Obviously this doesn't mean what you write must be fun, buoyant and void of difficulty - Br
...more
Gus Sanchez
Eleven essays from one of the masters of the art of writing. "On the Shoulders of Giants" is the one essay most worth the purchase price; Bradbury argues that a love for reading stems from finding writing you enjoy reading. Ray Bradbury would have not become Ray Bradbury had he been discouraged from reading Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.G. Wells, rather than "the classics." His love for Burroughs and Wells spurred him to write. So, his advice is to find the writers you enjoy reading, and take your ...more
Ari Melman
Not too many tips here, just raw love for writing. Bradbury lived and breathed writing -- story craft was his purpose on Earth. He uses beautiful prose to describe his love of writing and if you need a pick me up or want a bit of behind the scenes of his inspiration, you'll find them here. Don't expect this book to improve your writing though. The secret to that as Bradbury says is to write 1000 words a day for ten years and don't expect to be published a second sooner. Write short stories inste ...more
Nikhilesh
Oct 29, 2012 Nikhilesh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every bibliophile, aspiring writers, students
Any book book can change your life if you let it. But this one can do that, more so than others. If you feel writing can possibly be your cup of tea, this is an excellent book to get started about the whole idea of creativity. It will give you an idea how difficult it is, what should you aim for, its beauty, pain, freedom and scale. Even if you don't want to write and you are a bibliophile its still a great read.
Ray Bradbury the poet and philosopher, opens up to you, speaks to you so eloquently
...more
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Zen in the Art of Writing Giveaway TODAY 1 3 Aug 31, 2014 08:03AM  
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American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He bec ...more
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“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” 4671 likes
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” 4316 likes
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