I stumbled across a very interesting book at Crosswords, the other day . A book by Ray Bradbury, titled " Zen in the art of writing" . It is a 150 page easy to read book which talks about the experiences of an author, story teller who listens to his heart and subconscious mind for writing stories.
One of the first things which the author strikes a chord with the audience is that he explains most of the stuff as a result of the sub conscious mind working on his childhood and adolescent experiences. In that context, the author suggests that any writer should have Zest and gusto for life, which are the prime driving forces to a good story.
The author introduces a technique which he himself to have followed through out his writing life. This technique essentially urges any writer to have a list of nouns to be written in a place and constantly feed the list to one’s sub conscious mind. It is said that writers get ideas for their stories at very odd moments and the common nouns list acts as a trigger for the same.
Regarding ideas for writing , one gets a feeling from the book that it is all within us . We don’t have to look out for new ideas somewhere else. If we constantly feed our subconscious mind with new words and experiences, the stories and writing will follow .
One other important aspect of any aspiring writer , according to author , is the ability of a person to have a child like curiosity and hunger for life. Only then one can follow the path of Work — Relaxation — Don’t think — Even more relaxation. The author strongly recommends a high level of experimentation with the ideas and writing so that one reaches a point where work equates to relaxation , where work equates to something which is done by subconscious mind , whereby one can relax more.
The overall takeaway from the book is as follows:
The only way to write better is to write whatzz in your heart. One doesn’t have to write to cater to commercial needs, one doesn’t have to write to cater to the literary magazines . If one does write for money , fame , success, power, commercial needs, etc, it is unlikely that he is going to derive fun from writing , which is actually the purpose of a writer.
In the words of Bradbury
"Stand aside, Forget targets, Let the characters, Your fingers , body, blood and heart do the story telling"