Ray Bradbury, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of science fiction and fantasy works, was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois.
Bradbury rejected the categorization of his works as science fiction, preferring to call them “fantastical and unreal.”
Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, is perhaps his best known work; it became an instant success, striking chords with readers concerned with the dangers of censorship at a time when the country was deep in the throes of McCarthyism.
Bradbury knew he wanted to write from the age of 12 or 13. After high school graduation in Los Angeles, Bradbury sold newspapers to supplement his writing.
He published his first short story, Pendulum, in 1941, and his first collection of short stories in 1947. His wife, whom he met at a bookstore, was the family’s chief breadwinner during Bradbury’s early writing career.
Although he disdained television as a medium, he wrote many screenplays, including an HBO series closely following his own short stories, and an adaptation of Moby Dick.
Bradbury was notoriously dedicated to his craft, writing daily well into his 80s.
Ultimately, he published over 600 short stories, 30 novels, and assorted plays, poems, and essays.
In 2007, the Pulitzer board recognized him for his “distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” He lived to age 91, dying in 2012 at his home in Los Angeles.
Here are 15 timeless Bradbury quotes about the art and craft of writing.
Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”
“Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves.”
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
“The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me.”
“Love is easy, and I love writing. You can’t resist love. You get an idea, someone says something, and you’re in love.”
“I’m not in control of my muse. My muse does all the work.”
“As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world, you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.”
“You fail only if you stop writing.”
“It’s lack that gives us inspiration. It’s not fullness.”
“I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
“You can write a short story in two hours. Two hours a day, you have a novel in a year.”
“There’s no one way to be creative. Any old way will work.”
“My favorite writers have been those who’ve said things well.”
We miss you, Ray.
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