Besides being a legend and perhaps the most influential writer of the 20th century, author Ray Bradbury is known for his incredible output of short stories, novels and screenplays.
His novels The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man started out as short stories. That’s because he was using Scrum before it had even been invented. But he didn’t realize it COULD be applied to writing novels, too.
Here are some excerpts from an evening with Ray Bradbury, speaking at Point Loma Nazarene University in 2001.
(The italics are mine)
The problem with novels is, you can spend a whole year writing one and it might not turn out well because you haven’t learned to write yet. But the best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers, is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you could write one short story a week, doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least at the end of a year, you have 52 short stories. And I defy you to write 52 bad ones. At the end of thirty weeks or forty weeks, or the end of a year, all of a sudden, a story will come that’s just wonderful.
The psychological thing here, is that every week you’ll be happy. At the end of a week, you will have done something.
Don’t live on your computer. Don’t let them flim flam into owning all these devices. They can be very valuable, very good for certain kinds of things. You don’t need anything but a pad and a pencil. I was out in the desert about a year ago, and I got an idea for a cantata. I wrote the whole 18 pages with a pad and pencil. I had no typewriter with me. I used what I had. Whatever works.
Listen to his talk in its entirety here: