“(1) Most important, I recommend patience—which I have to remind myself of all the time. So often, I get excited about a poem in progress and start to spin my wheels, which I do for a week or two until it’s time to set the poem aside. Then, sometimes months later, I find a new angle or approach and the poem begins to move again.
Incidentally, the same is true for reading. How often did I read a brilliant writer and think I disliked his/her work when I just wasn’t ready for it?
(2) I like to look at historical photographs of places I know intimately—cities and towns I’ve lived in, etcetera. I think it’s good for writing to imagine the present moment as just the pinhole in a camera—all that past beyond it, like the boundless world flooding in and through the tiny lens of one’s moment.
Not a bad way to think about one’s own writing in the context of literature, either.”
—Wayne Miller, author of The Book of Props (Milkweed Editions, 2009)