“When I initially considered the question of what it is I do when I feel stuck in my writing, I felt stuck. Do I ever hit a wall? Then I remembered: all the time! It’s just that my tricks to overcome sudden inertia are now so ingrained that I usually forget I’m in a temporary slump. Whatever I’m doing, I stop. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting clarity on a research question before I can move ahead (though I try not to go down too many rabbit holes). Maybe I put the novel aside for the moment and work on an essay (like right now). Or a play. Or read whatever novel I’m reading that is not related to what I’m writing. Or the best option: Go outside (if I’m not already) and take a walk.
Once, I was trying to find a title to a play I’d first-drafted, and nothing viable was emerging. Then I started doing yoga and in the middle of a Downward Dog pose, while not even thinking about the play, the title came to me.
Every so often I’ll get in a stubborn mood, determined to finish a chapter even when I’m fried. I force it, fake it. Sometimes getting something down on paper helps. I sleep on it, and the next day come back to the mess I made, my fresh mind now able to see exactly what will make things right.”
—Kia Corthron, author of Moon and the Mars (Seven Stories Press, 2021)