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Posts Tagged ‘ray bradbury’

This post is for everyone over 50 who thinks it’s too late to take up writing. I didn’t take it seriously until I saw my 60th  looming on the horizon and I knew if I was going to do anything interesting with this part of my life, I’d better get busy. Fast.

I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. After I got a few chapters into a children’s story I realized I had no idea where I was going and how to get there. So I spent the next year researching, trying to understand the structure of a plot and how to create characters. I studied archetypes and astrological signs; what makes a good protagonist and worthy antagonist.

Since my book, Guardian Cats, is seen through the eyes of cats, I did extensive research into cat behavior, including cat body language, cat whisperers and a whole host of YouTube cat videos. My collage of delicious bookmarks ranges from such diverse studies as The World Egg Throwing Federation, pirates and bullies, raccoons, talking parrots and pet psychics.

My computer, driven to its limits, crashed and burned. I lost all my research, photos and and half my files. I slogged on, determined that I wouldn’t drop the ball. There was no turning back, especially after a year of sleep deprivation that it took to study this fascinating craft.

The more I studied, the more I was hooked. Whenever thoughts crept into my mind like– ‘You’re too late! Too old. You should have kept up your writing when you started years ago. Then you’d be somewhere now…’–I slammed the door in their faces. Threw rotten tomatoes, eggs, anything handy, at those whiny, demonic little beings.

The thing is, my previous attempts at writing were childish and immature…when I was a mere 20, 30, 40 years old.  I like to think that all my living counts for something and that being over the hill a late bloomer might actually help.

Here are a few tips for other late blooming writers.

  • Read like crazy. Haunt libraries, bookstores, Amazon and GoodReads.
  • Study the craft of writing like you are attending a university.  Take it seriously, but keep it fun, if that makes any sense.
  • Throw rotten eggs at your demons.
  • Patience and determination will be your best companions.
  • Write without expectations. Write because you love it.  Like my mentor, Ray Bradbury, says:
“Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”
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I love C.S. Lewis’s powerfully simple answer:

We read to know we are not alone.

We learn we are not alone in our struggle to make sense of this world. We learn that everyone throughout time struggles with various aspects of hope and despair, good and evil, love and hate, along with all the varying degrees of our emotional makeup as humans. Stories are what we share of our ourselves that make us human.

As readers, we applaud or scorn various books and viewpoints. As writers, we have the job of examining the depths of human consciousness and experience to try and make an entertaining or inspiring story. Readers and writers become intrinsically connected by this sharing.

Reading a good book makes us a little bigger than we were before. We’ve entered a new world, met new people and vicariously experienced their lives. A well turned out phrase can imprint an image or idea within us, changing  our essence in subtle ways we are not even aware of.

I’m thinking of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. Until I read it, I rarely thought of dandelions as anything more than weeds (or wild herbs to be generous). But there’s another perspective on just about everything isn’t there? Bradbury’s grandfather saw the flowers as the perfect choice for making his summer wine. Those ‘golden flowers that flooded the world, dripped off lawns onto brick streets, tapped softly at crystal cellar windows and agitated themselves so that on all sides lay the dazzle and glitter of molten sun.’

I could have spent my whole life thinking of dandelions as undesirable and needing of eradication and I’m sure I’d be just fine. But reading this book about Bradbury’s childhood, so rich in description and high value instilled in small ‘insignificant’ things sends ripples of change throughout my consciousness.

As a reader, once I absorb a good book, it becomes part of who I am.

What books stand out in your mind as having a great influence on how you think…and for writers, how you write.

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“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.” Ray Bradburykindred spirit

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“Find out what your hero or heroine wants, and when he or she wakes up in the morning, just follow him or her all day.”vladstudio.com - the two and the elephant Ray Bradbury

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