Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Write for the Fire

Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
                                        --Ray Bradbury                           

I read this quote on Ann Dee Ellis's blog today and  it was like getting hit in the head with a pine cone. Ray Bradbury is a hero of mine. He graduated from the library instead of college. He writes original, inimitable stuff.

a pine cone

I started writing because I loved it. I loved it so much I could write myself out of a depression, and that's a big deal. I was totally in love.

me, in love

I didn't know what I was doing. A lot of what I wrote was buffalo chips, destined for the fire. But I was having too much fun to care.  

a buffalo chip

Am I still in love with writing? Yes. A lot of what I write is still chippy and fire-bound, only now I'm a little more aware of when I've produced poop, and also that someone else who knows the difference between buffalo chips and swiss chocolate might read it, too.  

definitely not a buffalo chip

I have been putting off writing this book because I'm afraid of producing poop instead of chocolate. Silly. That's what the fire is for, right? 


I had to remember I'm writing for the fire today, so I have nothing to lose. If I don't, I might fall out of love altogether and have to get a real job that I don't love at all. 

Yeah, so, write for the fire, hey? Write (or paint, or run, or play your violin) for the joy of it, and even if all you come up with is buffalo chips, remember, you can start a fire with those.*** 

***Whatever that means. I'm not really sure. It's either terribly profound, or...well, you know. 


  1. We've been feeling the same things. I used to love it too and I wrote myself out of a depression as well. I'm searching for the fire again. Right now if feel a tiny spark. Thanks for your comment on my blog the other day.

  2. Lena! It just hit me that we both have a hobby that is more like a job and consumes us at times but we are not making any money. But we love what we do and so who cares? The only difference is that I am certain you will make money some day and I won't... :-) Thank you so much for coming down to Vegas and cheering me on. Although it may seem that by the time you got to the course, I was so in the zone, I did not notice you, I did! Thank you! Sorry we did not get to hang out more but I thought our little pool BBQ was fun!

  3. I love this post! It's something I needed to hear. I've been putting off writing a book as well and I really need to just get on that. It's either that or go raid the neighbor's pasture and see if I can get a bonfire going. :)

    Thanks for the quote and for posting this.

  4. Love this. So true, and so easy to forget.

  5. Awesome. It definitely hit me in the head like a pine cone, too... I've been trying to remind myself of this lately. Thanks for sharing it!


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