I know I’m stuck with writing when my hands reach for my hair. The goal? To work out the millions of knots that my coils have tied themselves into. Another go-to is binging on my latest favorite wheat-based snack, or dashing away from my desk for yet another handful of said snack. I do have healthier ways of unblocking myself, though paradoxically, they can slip into procrastination if I’m not careful: Doing genealogical research, especially while writing my novel, Coleman Hill (Maybe this is the year I’ll find such-and-such in the records!). Staring into space (Is that a blue jay, or…? Let me Google.). Reading books (Look how easily words can flow!).
Sweeping (Some chores can be fun!). Watching a whole Netflix series (Research, of course. Look how easily plot can flow!). If I’m stuck, it’s usually because there’s something I need to figure out. Over the years, I’ve realized that focusing attention away from the page—and incorporating movement—is the magic dust I need to help me mull over words, visualize scenes, and get back to the page. While none of my methods are beneficial for split ends or a gluten-sensitive stomach, they all work wonders for my writing. And my floors are almost always spotless.
—Kim Coleman Foote, author of Coleman Hill (SJP Lit, 2023)