writing advice from teju cole

Keep an inner fire; keep it on your own behalf and on behalf of so many people who are suffering because of the system

Continue to fail better—failure of a kind that might even be better than certain forms of success.

Be ruthless in your use of what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced. Add your imagination, so that where invention ends and reality begins is undetectable.

Remove all clichés from your writing. Spare not a single one. The cliché is an element of herd thinking, and writers should be solitary animals. We do our work always in the shadow of herd thinking. Be expansive in your descriptions. Dare to bore.

(full list is here.)

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