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Idra Novey Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 3.03.16

“When I run out of words, I find it helpful to run out the door. Even if I only have fifteen minutes and it’s February and freezing, I find physically moving quickly gets my mind going again. It also helps if I listen to music with a driving rhythm and lyrics I admire. Over the five years it took to write my first novel, I turned to the bluegrass music of Valerie June more than anyone else. Like June, I grew up in Appalachia and no matter how many times I run to her songs, the defiant, fiery force of her lines gets the words flowing again. And not just any words, but words worth writing down, that risk something new and move a scene forward in a way I hadn’t considered when I was sitting on my couch as still as the cactus in the corner. When I take a break from writing and run, I become more aware of my breath and my body and the sound of my feet hitting the ground. In my mind, I start to move through the scene I was working on and notice new aspects about my characters’ bodies, where they are standing and at what distance from each other. Moving while listening to June’s innovative album Pushin’ Against a Stone makes me want to be braver and more inventive in my own lines, and if I write something that's a little too crazy, well, there’s always the delete button. After which, I can go for another quick run in the snow and try again.”
—Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear (Little, Brown, 2016)

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