Rebecca Dinerstein Recommends...

“The great chess and martial arts champion Josh Waitzkin talks about ‘stress and recovery’ in his book The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance (Free Press, 2007). I think this theory of balance can help a writer as much as it helps an athlete. I tried to convert the ‘stress’ phase of writing into a ritual: wake up at eight, drink a cup of coffee, eat a bowl of yogurt, start working. I found the experience of being in the middle of a novel so uncomfortable—so much like treading water halfway across a river—I wanted to get to the other shore as fast as possible. So I wrote a thousand words a day. Keeping this pace helped me finish a draft which gave me something I could hold on to and show people for comments, and then rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I needed to embrace the stress of the work, so that I could get something done, but equally essential was embracing recovery. That’s where delight comes in handy. It’s crucial to know what brings you delight: whether it’s the view out a certain window, a Ciara music video, gooey pizza, or exchanging bitmojis with a friend. Take care of yourself, so you can stare down the next day's stress. That's the only way the cycle works.”
—Rebecca Dinerstein, author of The Sunlit Night (Bloomsbury, 2015)