I was listening to an NPR interview with author Sam Weller on the subject of Ray Bradbury. It was a remembrance of the man who wrote The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451 and many, many other books and who died on June 5th. Weller penned The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury and in the process became a friend of Bradbury’s.
There were little particles of interesting information; for instance, that Bradbury had never driven a car in his life because he witnessed a car accident as a fourteen-year old or that he never wrote with an outline, but instead felt that he was simply a medium for his characters and trusted them to fill the pages.
I became very engrossed in the interview, enjoying it thoroughly through to the end, but was struck by one thing in particular. Ray Bradbury used to quote Yoda, from Star Wars, to Weller, saying, “Don’t think, just do!” He contended that we writers had a tendency to over-analyze and also found that many writers spent more time whining about how difficult writing was than actually writing. He had contempt for the “intellectual, New York writer set” that brooded, in his opinion.
I came home and sat down, after having brooded for nearly a month, and straight out of the box wrote the first page of a novel I’ve been noodling about for some time. It’s good and like Bradbury, I just let go and let the characters do the work.
I had forgotten how to do this. But every time I slip into this mode of writing it works for me. I think I’ve been over-analyzing because my marketing side has been so prominent lately. But, whatever the reason (I don’t want to waste time analyzing it!), Bradbury’s simple joke rang true for me. I’ve posted a reminder on the wall next to my laptop.
Don’t think, just do!
P.S. Bradbury also said, according to Weller, “Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.” Maybe I’m really Bradbury’s long lost love child.