Donna Hemans Recommends...

“I think of writer’s block as a bubble, a physical thing I can step out of. When I am stuck or when the words sound hollow and wooden, I stop trying to write and instead try to regain my rhythm in movement. I physically change something. Sometimes it’s my location; I try working in a different room in my house, on the patio if the weather allows or away from home at a writers studio. Other times I move away from the work altogether by taking long walks around a lake, or by baking or cooking. About a year ago, I painted my desk lime green, partly to bring color into my space and partly to capture the rhythm of brushing on paint.

In the midst of moving, something clicks. Sometimes a single word comes to me. Sometimes it’s a whole paragraph that I have to stop and jot down before it slips away altogether. Sometimes it’s an idea that connects two parts of a story. Ultimately, writing is about rhythm—how the words, plot, and story flow together. Creating rhythm away from the work makes the words flow again.”
—Donna Hemans, author of Tea by the Sea (Red Hen Press, 2020)