Emily Ruskovich Recommends...

“When I’m really struggling with a chapter or story, and when I start to feel despair about it, I find that spending full days away from my desk is really important, full days in which I don't think about writing at all, but rather immerse myself in other writers’ worlds, and read for pleasure alone. I return to the books that have most moved me in my life. I read Alice Munro or Toni Morrison or Marilynne Robinson or Kazuo Ishiguro or Richard Adams. I used to feel guilty on the days I wasn’t writing, and the guilt used to become a kind of barrier between myself and whatever activity was keeping me from writing. It’s very important to me that writing never feel like a barrier, but rather a way of connecting even more deeply with my own life. I find that stepping away from a novel helps me regain perspective when I’ve been struggling, and it opens me up, helps me subconsciously through that chapter, and, mostly importantly, reminds me of the reason I write. Writing is an attempt to express gratitude to the world, and to feel connected to people—those I love, and those I’ll never know, even those who are not yet a part of this world. And when I read my favorite authors, I feel that again. I feel the way their separate hearts have made their home in my own heart. To return to a difficult chapter after that doesn’t fill me with quite the same despair. Shedding that despair is everything.”
—Emily Ruskovich, author of Idaho (Random House, 2017)