Curation Tuesday: More from <Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing

From Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

  • “Do not, for money, turn away from all the stuff have collected in a lifetime.” [For many of us, it’s time to put all we’ve amassed to us.]
  • “Do not, for the vanity of intellectual publications, turn away from what you are—the material within you which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others.”  [For me, this requires a daily pep talk. Sometimes, I’m all in. Other times, out of resistance, I drift toward other projects.]
  • “To feed your Muse, then, you should always have been hungry about life since you were a child. If not, it is a little late to start. Better late than never, of course. Do you feel up to it?” [I think Ray would suggest you dive into your closet of notebooks and half-finished works and see what is inches away from being revived.]

I hope a few of Ray Bradbury’s thoughts speak to you as a writer/creator.

Be open to inspiration. Write on!

10 Writing Prompts for July 16

  1. “So THAT’S why she was following you! I knew she wasn’t that socially desperate.”

  2. “Hey, everything I do is above board!”

  3. “My job is to put away bad guys.” It was impossible to not roll my eyes.

  4. “You’re not exactly playing by the rules.”

  5. “I’m just not following your point.”    
    “Your obtuseness—so convenient.”

  6. “If that phone beeps one more time, you’re going to need it to be surgically removed.”

  7. “I understand that you’re doing your job, but do we really need to be frisked? And twice?”

  8. “Why don’t we team up on this?”   It seemed like a good idea. But my gut said otherwise.

  9. “Sure I’ll testify against him. But I need some reassurances.”

  10. “Everything he claims? Baseless. Absolutely baseless,” he said as he backed his way out the door.

Photo by Nick Herasimenka on Unsplash

Curation Saturday: Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing

From Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

Excerpt 1:

“I needed that approval. We all need someone higher, wiser, older to tell us we’re not crazy after all, that what we’re doing is all right. All right, hell, fine!”

Yep, I guess that, along with the daily accountability, is why the My 500 Words Facebook group is one I’ve stuck with and visited daily.

These folks are in the trenches with me, many/most of us writing to explore, writing to reflect, writing to release, and sure, some folks are writing to publish, which is certainly just as valid and definitely exciting.

And so Ray B [easier to type than ‘Bradbury’…I think it’s the combination/sequence of the letters] found that validation from a revered 89-year-old art historian, Bernard Berenson.

While I’m not a famed art historian, I hope that my comments and content can provide some validation to fellow writers.

Excerpt 2:

“But it is easy to doubt yourself, because you look around at a community of notions held by other writers, other intellectuals, and they make you blush with guilt. Writing is supposed to be difficult, agonizing, a dreadful exercise, a terrible occupation.”

With this excerpt, Ray B draws the contrast between himself [“I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done, I’ve done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it.”] and many other writers.

As I write this post, as I consider my age, as I think about how I am not overly enthused by rewriting, followed by rewriting, followed by rewriting…and then marketing, I wonder if I’ll ever get anything published. This is not a ‘woe is me’ proposition. It’s just a moment of self-reflection, of revisiting [probably daily] what is more important to me when it comes to writing.

More from this book next week when Ray B addresses the muse…


Ten more writing prompts…and one more Warmup strategy.

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Another use: I have reduced one of my hard copies to 1000 strips of paper, each containing a Warmup. I pull out four or five at a time and see what story develops.
[Note: My first ebook of Writing Warmups is currently free.]

  1. “Why don’t you come with us?” As she considered the request, the three of us turned our backs and winced.
  2. “Don’t sweat it. You’ll get the hang of it.”
  3. I swear when I grabbed her hand for the first time, a jolt of electricity shot up my arm.
  4. “How do you get anything done in here?” 
  5. “All due respect…” Oh, geez, I knew anything but respect was on its way.
  6. The deadline was approaching, but our solutions weren’t.
  7. “So, what’ll it be—root canal or a date with my brother?”
  8. “Should my hands be sweating like this?”
  9. “Let’s just make believe we get along…just for tonight.”
  10. “What is it with you? Why does everything have to be so organized?”

**Photo by Jeremy Beck on Unsplash


Another ten writing warmups…

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Another of my writing prompt strategies…

I often merge two or more Warmups into a scene for practice writing or one that might show up in a work-in-progress. [Note: My first book of Writing Warmups is currently free.]

  1. “Let’s just say your mom will not be pleased.”
  2. She was a master at starting rumors about herself.
  3. “Hey, don’t look at me. I’m just the middle man!”
  4. His family business was impeding our progress, not to mention his parenting skills.
  5. We’d been looking at the wrong person this whole time.
  6. Her nationality remained a mystery…to us…even to her parents.
  7. And so began my climb up the corporate ladder…
  8. “Just one more problem.” He showed us the photo.
  9. “We will probably need some reinforcements after a couple of hours.” “Are you kidding me? We’re talking about a group of kindergarteners!”
  10. “Oh, I forgot to mention…”

**Photo by Clément M. on Unsplash

Ten more writing prompts…and yet another way I use them.


Another way I use my writing warmups: I will close a mediocre writing day with a burst of Warmup-inspired words to help kickstart  my next session. [Note: My first ebook of Writing Warmups is currently free.]

  1. “He gave me a detailed description of what he wanted.” I held it up. “This is as close as I could get.”
  2. The speaker hobbled across the stage to the podium. I leaned to my buddy. “This is going to take a loooong time.”
  3. The bank statements told an interesting story.
  4. “Just jot your name on the dotted line and all will be well.”
  5. “That guy across the street? Been there three straight days.”
  6. “Not so fast. I need a few minutes to read this over.” Totally not what I wanted to hear.
  7. The books were stacked. The coffee was brewed. The all-nighter had begun. And then the phone rang.
  8. I held the document up to the light. “Very interesting.”
  9. In strutted a fashion disaster. “Which way to my dressing room?”
  10. “I have absolutely nothing to hide.”



Ten more writing prompts…and another way I use them.

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  1. The last suitcase at the baggage carousel was about to change my life…
  2. “He really teed off on me…and for no good reason.”
    “Wellll…let’s just say…”
  3. Josie’s feet were propped on the desk as I entered her den of sin…
  4. Non-stop yakking…that was the only way to describe it.
  5. I reached for the ring in my pocket. So far, so good…
  6. “Let’s just say follow-through wasn’t exactly his strength…”
  7. It was hard to tell the criminals from the politicians…
  8. At the far end of the terminal, a diminutive woman huddled inside her heavy coat and waited. There had to be more to her story…
  9. I braced myself for the worst possible news. Instead…
  10. I wasn’t sure who the applause was for, so I shrugged and waved to the welcoming crowd…

Another use: I turn to my lists of prompts to spice up my morning pages when I’m tired of writing about my own little issues and plans.