On the Importance of Kindness and Reading Widely

28 04 2017

COLUM MCCANN’S
ADVICE TO YOUNG WRITERS

I. Don’t Be a Dick

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.

–Henry James

II. Read, Read, Read

Trying to write without reading is like venturing out to sea all by yourself in a small boat: lonely and dangerous. Wouldn’t you rather see the horizon filled, end to end, with other sails? Wouldn’t you rather wave to neighboring vessels; admire their craftsmanship; cut in and out of the wakes that suit you, knowing that you’ll leave a wake of your own, and that there’s enough wind and sea for you all?

–Téa Obreht

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