Improve your writing craft with this assignment from author Ray Bradbury
Renowned author Ray Bradbury has an assignment for writers who want to improve their craft.
Read one short story, one poem, and one essay every night for 1,000 nights.
At the end of 1,000 nights, your head will be full of ideas and metaphors along with your own experiences and observations of the people in your life. His aim is for us to make new metaphors out of all of these ideas and images that are bouncing around in our heads. In other words, stuff your head with literature.
Other Bradbury advice: Write short stories instead of a novel as a way of learning.
He suggests beginning and intermediate writers write one short story a week to practice their craft instead of spending a year on a novel and finding it’s not very good because they haven’t learned how to write yet.
If you write one story a week for a year, you’ll have 52 stories at the end of the year and it’s unlikely that they would all be bad, he said.
By doing this, you’ll learn to look for ideas and compact your writing. Bradbury, who began writing at age 12, wrote his first novel, Fahrenheit 451, when he was 30 years old.
Bradbury’s advice comes from a speech he gave at Loma Linda Nazarene University’s 2001 writing symposium. In my next post, I’ll share some books and authors from Bradbury’s recommended reading list.
Bradbury was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2000. To learn more about him, visit his website.