James Hannaham Recommends...

“I’ve told my students in the past that writing is 90 percent procrastination. Very little of it involves actually sitting at a computer or scratching letters into a notebook; the thinking part comprises the majority of the work. Embracing that principle has kept me from going cross-eyed while frowning into the blue screen of an empty Microsoft Word document at 4:00 AM in an attempt to will some compelling character or situation to leap into life. It always helps to have a plan before you sit down and wrack your brain. But if you find yourself in such a jam, go do anything else. Take a walk. Exercise. Go sit in a café and watch people. Sketch. Write longhand on paper if you normally use a computer, and vice versa. If you become particularly blocked, consider doing something you would never do. Not something you hate, just choose an activity that you wouldn’t normally think to try: Go to an event you wouldn’t usually bother with. Get outside of yourself and your routine a little. In the past, I’ve taken a commuter train to a town I’d never visited before, and I once went on a birdwatching tour of New York’s East River in a ferry. From the water, I saw the city utterly transformed, full of new possibilities.”
—James Hannaham, author of Delicious Foods (Little, Brown, 2015)