Umberto Eco’s Advice to Aspiring Writers

Umberto Eco, now 83 years old, has some advice to pass along to the young.

In March, the Italian semiotician, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist — and, of course, author of Foucault’s Pendulum – published How to Write a ThesisIt’s a witty, irreverent and practical guide for the student laboring over a thesis or dissertation. Josh Jones has more on that here.

Now, in a newly-released video from The Louisiana Channel (a media outlet based in Denmark), Eco turns his attention toward aspiring writers. And his wise counsel comes down to this: Keep your ego in check, make sure your ambitions are realistic, put in the time and the hard work, and don’t shoot for the Nobel Prize in Literature straight out of the gate. That, Eco says, kills every literary career. He’ll also tell you that writing is “10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” They’re truisms — you discover when you’re an octogenarian — that turn out to be true.

Find more tips for aspiring writers below.

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

Related Content:

Ernest Hemingway Creates a Reading List for a Young Writer, 1934

Ray Bradbury Gives 12 Pieces of Writing Advice to Young Authors (2001)

Toni Morrison Dispenses Writing Wisdom in 1993 Paris Review Interview

John Steinbeck’s Six Tips for the Aspiring Writer and His Nobel Prize Speech

Stephen King Creates a List of 96 Books for Aspiring Writers to Read

Kurt Vonnegut Gives Advice to Aspiring Writers in a 1991 TV Interview

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