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Advice To Young Writers From Abdellatif Laâbi

It was a great honour to host the Moroccan poet, novelist, translator and political activist Abdellatif Laâbi at The Mosaic Rooms earlier this year. Here is the wonderful advice he had for young writers.

This blog post is from December 2013. 

laabiblog

-Be loyal to writing every day and accept its every demand.

-It must be central to your life and you must organise your life around it.

-Respect its values.

-Constant alertness.

-Constant persistence.

-Honesty with yourself as a precondition for honesty with others.

-The question that must remain superior to the answer.

-Tenderness towards wounding words.

-Don’t listen to loud and passing waves.

-Don’t worry about being retrograde.

-Avoid power in whatever form it comes.

-And if it tries to suck you in, resist it at any cost.

-You need to read twice as much as you write.

-Dictionaries are only cemeteries of words. But plant life in them.

-Be careful of ready language.

-Don’t sell it.

-But fight it in order to create your own private and personal language.

-Avoid poeticism if you are a poet.

-And do not abandon your poeticism if you are a novelist.

-Be your most severe critic.

-Look at what you write as a very modest piece of writing ready to be shared.

-Consider it a public property and not your own personal property.

-Don’t remain a prisoner of your environment.

-Go out, leave, and take your distance.

-Don’t respect borders and be not afraid of being lost.

-The earth all together is your homeland and all of humanity is your people.

-And everything you do and wherever you go do not forget where you came from.

-The earth, the mother that brought you to life, your human descendancy.

-Even if you become an old man don’t waste the child that you were once nor the dreams of youth.

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