Ray Bradbury, science-fiction aficionado of the 20th century, produced an astonishing array of fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery stories.
But his success didn’t happen immediately. While he eventually sold more than eight million copies of his novels and short stories, Bradbury actually struggled for years to support his family before making any meaningful progress.
Of course, we all know that learning to write well takes a considerable amount of time and commitment. But surely there’s a way to avoid the unnecessarily arduous experiences that Bradbury suffered?
Fortunately, before he died in 2012, Bradbury recorded the secret of his breakthrough, the moment he stumbled upon the elusive force he needed to power his writing.
I’ll show you Bradbury’s inspiring recording in a moment. But first, let’s take a brief look back to where his remarkable journey all began.
A $15 Sale Began His Odyssey…
When Bradbury submitted short stories for the magazine Weird Tales, a fantasy and horror magazine, his work was rejected. Even his first paid piece, ‘Pendulum’ earned a mere $15 when published in the Super Science Stories magazine in 1941.
But eventually his work begin to sell. And I mean REALLY sell.
Towering above them all was Fahrenheit 451, his 1953 science-fiction classic in which he envisaged a world where books were outlawed, and gave it that title because that is the temperature at which book-paper ignites.
Bradbury joked at the time that there were worse crimes than burning books. One of them, he said, was not reading them. He needn’t have worried. According to Publisher’s Weekly, Farenheit 451 continues to sell over 7,000 copies a week.
So how did he attract such a massive readership?
Ray Bradbury’s Writing Secret Revealed
In the following 3 minute video, Ray Bradbury talks about this ‘inner genius’ in vivid but simple terms, and explains how he eventually prevailed:
“I realized that after 10 years of writing, I’d finally written something beautiful. I turned a corner into my interior self. I wasn’t writing exterior stuff. I wasn’t writing for the right or the left or the in between. I was writing for me.”
Bradbury’s crucial revelation was that writers need to follow the path of their instincts and enthusiasms to the place where their inner genius dwells.
In fact, he also wrote about this at some length in his exuberant manual for writers, called Zen in the Art of Writing.
How To Replicate Ray Bradbury’s Success:
1. Write from your instincts
What are your insatiable fascinations?
Fahrenheit 451 took Ray Bradbury nine days to write. A classic of the 20th century, in just nine days. In truth, this extraordinary feat was partly enabled by years of practice – he wrote every day for nearly 70 years. But just as importantly, it was possible because he wrote about what instinctively fascinated him. He trusted his intuition… and built a global audience of millions.
Make no mistake, this doesn’t just apply to the fantasy genre either, but rather to all genres – right across the board from Paranormal Fiction to Romance.
Whenever the muse refuses to appear, or my confidence fades, I stop for a while and think of Ray Bradbury. It reminds me to stay the course, to keep on with what attracts and excites me, and that all it really needs beyond that is the gift of persistence.
This is an emotional issue. Are you writing about what fascinates you? Or are you chasing a trend? Do you suffer self-doubt? Please do leave a comment.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / CEO Bestseller Labs
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