Jackson Bliss Recommends...

I rarely get stuck in my writing and that’s not a flex. I just make sure to have a bunch of options at my disposal. For one thing, I work on multiple manuscripts at the same time so I’ll always have several books I can jump into, which helps demystify the singular artifact. For another, I give myself permission to revise, cut, and delete text whenever I’m not feeling creative, which is still writing no matter what people say. I also give myself permission to not write. For me, so much of writing is feeling, thinking, researching, flirting with ideas, and building new homes with language. My mentor T. C. Boyle once told me that it’s okay if you don’t write as long as you feel bad about not writing. I’d amend that and argue that feeling bad isn’t necessary and can even be counterproductive, although it can still be motivating.

Here are a few more things that help me when I’m writing: video games with RPG elements, traveling to Asia and Europe or driving around Los Angeles listening to hip-hop, doing PR for my books, running through Hollywood, working on my newsletter MIXTAPE, uplifting other writers, shopping for beanies, taking baths, getting new tats, Korean spas, miso, going on dates, and hiking.

And here are some things I avoid when I’m writing: Facebook, bookstores, the New Yorker, frenemy timelines, Netflix shows about writers, Hollywood movies about writers, movies with car explosions and/or Asian sidekicks, Publishers Weekly, NaNoWriMo threads, pharmaceutical conventions, interviews with literary agents, and class reunions.

Instead of thinking of writing as a binary between production and stagnation, I like to think that we’re writing all the time in different forms, only some of which ends up on the page.
—Jackson Bliss, author of Amnesia of June Bugs (7.13 Books, 2022)