Amanda Stern Recommends...

“When I’m stuck, and I keep writing, I make whatever I’m working on worse. So now, I’ve learned to spot the moments where I need to do what I don’t want to do, which is to leave. Leaving always helps. Usually I take the dog, and we walk. Anywhere and nowhere. Paying attention to where you’re walking defeats the purpose of walking. Running errands, stopping to talk to people defeats the purpose of walking. Just wave, smile, and keep walking. Put your headphones on and pretend you’re on the phone. When I walk, I take the entire world of the book with me and try and work out whatever I can’t work out when I’m standing still. Something about the sky, the absolute endlessness of the atmosphere creates a sense of possibility in my thinking, and in my imagining. Although you are technically walking away from your problems, you are actively working toward a solution. Whatever literary struggle I am having is always solved by moving. If you can’t walk, take a shower, and if you can’t shower, lie down away from your desk, and if you can’t lie down away from your desk, go under your desk and hide from the world. They’ll never look there. Take your time.”
—Amanda Stern, author of Little Panic: Dispatches From an Anxious Life (Grand Central Publishing, 2018)