Who was Ray Bradbury?
Say Ray Bradbury’s name, and the first thing that comes to mind might be book burning. In his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury imagined a world where books were censored and burned. Or you might think of his collection of short stories, Dandelion Wine. Beyond dystopia, Bradbury is recognized for shaping modern science fiction. If you haven’t read much of Bradbury, you are in for a treat. He has a lot to say about writing, creativity, motivation, and more. So, without further ado, here are 13 of the best Ray Bradbury quotes to inspire your day.
Ray Bradbury Quotes on Writing
Bradbury had a lot of tips for writing.
Don’t worry about things. Don’t push. Just do your work and you’ll survive. The important thing is to have a ball, to be joyful, to be loving and to be explosive. Out of that comes everything and you grow.
In fact, in 1990, he wrote a collection of articles called Zen in the Art of Writing.
I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows, or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.
Bradbury quotes show a sense of humor, too.
Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.
In his life, Bradbury would write prolifically. He observed,
I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.
Ray Bradbury on Education and Learning
Bradbury loved libraries and famously remarked:
I never went to college, so I went to the library.
In another quote, he elaborated:
I spent three days a week for ten years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves – you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of ten years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.
During his 91 years, Bradbury would write over 400 short stories and nearly 50 books.
And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right…. So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.
Best Ray Bradbury Quotes on Books and Reading
With his love for libraries, it’s not surprising that Bradbury valued books highly. He observed,
There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
He also noted,
There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.
Bradbury On Creativity
Bradbury’s humor emerges again in this quote about creativity from Zen in the Art of Writing.
That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.
He moves to metaphors in the next quote. (Amanda Gorman remembers a metaphor by Bradbury in Dandelion Wine as the first time wordsmithing caught her attention in elementary school.)
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
Bradbury understood also a crucial ingredient of creativity,
Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
And at the end of the day, his advice for writers is pragmatic but also encouraging,
Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these best of Ray Bradbury quotes. For more inspiring quotes by writers, don’t miss our other posts. From Neil Gaiman to Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee to Toni Morrison, we love bringing inspiration to your day.
For Further Reading:
Ray Bradbury and the fever of inspiration | Dan Gillmor —A tribute in The Guardian
New Yorker: Take Me Home —An essay by Bradbury published shortly before his death in 2012
Letters in Knopf archive show challenges Ray Bradbury faced early in his career —another glimpse into Bradbury’s life with an interactive gallery of photos.
Ray Bradbury, Science Fiction Master, Dies at 91 —His New York Times obituary
Ray Bradbury: Ready? Begin! —The official website of Ray Bradbury is a trove of information and photographs