It’s no secret that Ray Bradbury was a prolific author. By the time he passed in 2012, he had written over six-hundred short stories, twenty-seven books, plus essays, criticisms, screenplays, and poems. The man was a writing machine.
Luckily, he was open about his creative process and how he was able to accomplish so much with the written word. As I noted in a previous post, his book, Zen in the Art of Writing, is a must-read for all writers. Bradbury was passionate about the written word, about creativity, and about encouraging other writers.
And this is where the Bradbury Challenge comes from: his daily routine as outlined in the book. Basically, each day Bradbury would read one short story, one essay, and one poem. That was the fuel for his creative fire. Fiction, non-fiction, and a bit of lyrical beauty to get the imagination working.
But it doesn’t end there. The most amazing part is that he also wrote one short story every week. Of course, there were weeks, maybe months, when he couldn’t because of other commitments. He wrote so many other things that I couldn’t imagine how he’d have time to squeeze a short story in each week. But then again, the man was a word machine.
Because he’d always been an inspiration to me, I thought it was time I challenged myself to the challenge. Now, I know that I can’t follow his lead exactly. I have a full-time job (writing, no less), plus other daily and weekly responsibilities. Bradbury was a full-time, independent writer.
So I’m going to partake in a modified Bradbury Challenge.
My challenge to myself is this: read one short story or book chapter a day, read one poem a day, and write one short story every two weeks.
While more manageable than Bradbury’s routine, it’ll still take effort on my part. I’ll have to change up my daily routine and cut out some of my usual downtime in order to get words on the page, but I think it’ll be worth it.
I’m looking at it like an exercise routine. I started back to exercising every morning two months ago. I started small, ten minutes a day alternating between core, strength, and yoga. This week I’ve upped that to thirty minutes a day, doing core/strength/yoga on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while doing thirty minutes of yoga on Tuesday and Thursday.
At first, it was tough. I had to push myself to get into the routine. But now, two months later, it’s gone from a routine to a habit. A good habit.
I think the same can be applied to creativity. I’m going to start with this modified Bradbury Challenge and, eventually, get to where it evolves from routine to habit. Then, maybe, I’ll see about writing one story every week.
I’ll be starting this on Sunday and will post updates, along with my usual musings, every week. And you’re welcome to join in, in your own way.
I hope to make Ray Bradbury proud.