Ray Bradbury on Creativity

Ray Bradbury is one of the most respected American authors of the past century. He is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, including the classic novels Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

Here are some of Bradbury’s thoughts on creativity:

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.

Creativity is a continual surprise.

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.

The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me.

The time we have alone, the time we have in walking, the time we have in riding a bicycle, is the most important time for a writer. Escaping from the typewriter is part of the creative process. You have to give the subconscious time to think. Real thinking always occurs at the subconscious level.


  1. says

    Real thinking always occurs at the subconscious level. I like that – never gave it much thought before, but I think they are right! My problem is – because I thought of something subconsciously, when I then try to make it happen in reality, the idea/plan usually has a lot of ‘un-thought-out’ problems and holes that my subconscious did not notice :) Then I end up discarding it because it was no good… I’m sure there are exceptions, of course!
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