In 2012 Potts found the cassette tape behind a dresser and guess what? It still worked.
The renowned fantasy/sci-fi writer touches on topics dear to writers, such as finding inspiration, following your own “crazy enthusiasms” and learning to “emotionalize” a story rather than overthink it.
Another important one: “You write for the joy of writing.” Not because you’re going to become the world’s most famous blogger or because you plan to make a gorillion dollars with your best-selling book.
Nothing wrong with making a little money, of course. I’m certainly delighted when my personal website brings in a little cash, but I blogged there for more than two years before I ever monetized it. (And I sure can’t quit my day job.)
Fame? Sure, if it meant more people would see your words. But I don’t think you should count on it. Write because it’s in you to write.
As a teenager I read Bradbury’s sci-fi stuff. As an adult I’ve been re-reading “Dandelion Wine” every year or so for the flow and poetry of the language. The man’s got a way with words.
How delighted I was to read the short interview, especially the part about the joy of writing. That’s why I do it. I’ve been lucky to have been able to make a living at it for 30-plus years, yet if I’d taken a different job I expect I’d have written at night.
You can read a transcript of the Bradbury interview at Mental Floss. That post also includes a link to a short film made by the folks at Blank on Blank; it’s really worth your time.
‘Facts alone are not enough’
Bradbury also talked about why realism did not appeal to him: “I’m not interested in repeating what we already know.”
By the time we’re 18, he said, we know about topics like sex, violence, murder and war. Bradbury didn’t want to be a stenographer who recorded the best and worst of human nature. Writers can also be “interpreters.”
“We need poets. We need philosophers. We need theologians, who take the same basic facts and work with them and help us make do with those facts,” Bradbury said.
“Facts alone are not enough. It’s interpretation.”
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, try thinking of yourself as an interpreter. What you write may start out as a way for you to make sense of the world, but sharing it with others can help them on their journeys, too.
A deeply personal essay might appear at exactly the right time. At my other website, reader comments sometimes begin along the lines of “I needed to hear this today.”
Perhaps the next thing you write will provide the tools a reader needs to get out of debt, choose a vocation, change a life. Your thoughts might comfort, intrigue or inspire.
That may not be why you wrote it. But how marvelous that your words spoke to someone else’s life.