Words of Wisdom


I love this blog post, which was recently quoted by Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic. It’s advice to a child about how to be a writer. Here are a few of my favorite lines:

What should you do to help your child pursue her dreams of becoming a writer? 
First of all, let her be bored. Let her have long afternoons with absolutely nothing to do. Limit her TV-watching time and her internet-playing time and take away her cell phone. Give her a whole summer of lazy mornings and dreamy afternoons. Make sure she has a library card and a comfy corner where she can curl up with a book.
Give her a notebook and five bucks so she can pick out a great pen. Insist she spend time with the family. It’s even better if this time is spent in another state, a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake, far from her friends and people her own age. Give her some tedious chores to do. Make her mow the lawn, do the dishes by hand, paint the garage. Make her go on long walks with you and tell her you just want to listen to the sounds of the neighborhood.
Let her be lonely. Let her believe that no one in the world truly understands her. Give her the freedom to fall in love with the wrong person, to lose her heart, to have it smashed and abused and broken. Occasionally be too busy to listen, be distracted by other things, have your nose in a great book, be gone with your own friends. Let her have secrets. Let her have her own folder on the family computer.
Speaking of becoming a writer, I accidentally started revising my novel late last night. I hadn’t opened up the document since a few days before my India trip– a forced sabbatical to digest the story I wrote, its characters, its time-line; to conduct the necessary research to make it more believable.
What happened was this– I was thinking about the last line of the novel, the final ten words or so, and realized that there was a better way to say it. So I hesitantly opened my document and scrolled through to the end. After arranging and rearranging the words, I reread the sentence, then the paragraph, to make sure it fit. Then I went a few paragraphs up and read through to the end. Did some more rearranging. Then, of course, I went further back.
It appears I’m now revising my novel.
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