Friday, July 27, 2012

"Don't plan on making money" - Bradbury's advice

Saw a great blog offering Ray Bradbury's advice for aspiring authors. Can't disagree with any of this, though I'm no poetry fan. [An editor once said I had no poetry in my soul. Sad, but true.] Here are three of Bradbury's gems [with my commentary appended]:
Don’t start out writing novels. They take too long. Begin your writing life instead by cranking out “a hell of a lot of short stories,” as many as one per week. Take a year to do it; he claims that it simply isn’t possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row. He waited until the age of 30 to write his first novel, Fahrenheit 451. “Worth waiting for, huh?”

[I say this all the time to aspiring comics writers. Far better to get a load of short scripts written before you attempt a full-length graphic novel. Stephen King may be able to write a novel without planning, but first he learned his craft writing dozens upon dozens of short stories and novellas.]

Don’t plan on making money. He and his wife, who “took a vow of poverty” to marry him, hit 37 before they could afford a car (and he still never got around to picking up a license).

[Another absolute truth. Too many wannabes are inspired by get-rich-quick exceptions, like EL James. You know how much the average writer earns from writing a year? Not enough to pay tax. Most scrape a living by doing other things - teaching, workshops, whatever pays the bills.]

Remember, with writing, what you’re looking for is just one person to come up and tell you, “I love you for what you do.” Or, failing that, you’re looking for someone to come up and tell you, “You’re not nuts like people say."

[A thousand people can turn you down. That's depressing, but all it takes is "yes" from one person with the power to greenlight your narrative, whatever the medium in which you're writing. Failing that, find the one person who'll live with you while you write the strange stories out of your head.]

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