Melissa Rivero Recommends...

“Whenever I feel stuck in my writing, I change up my writing routine. I have kids, so I typically write for twenty- or thirty-minute spurts during the day, usually at coffee shops after I drop them off at school, then on the commute to and from work, or on my lunch breaks. But if I’m stuck, I’ll listen to music or read during my usual writing times, and instead, write at night. I won’t necessarily go back to the actual work-in-progress. Instead, I’ll play: I’ll write a letter from my protagonist to her lover, or a page out of my antagonist’s journal entry, or a shopping list for a character’s dinner party. In other words, I play with the people, places, and elements of the world I’ve started to create.

If that doesn’t work, then I’ll actually play—like a child does. I’ll skip writing altogether for the day, and at night, I’ll grab my kids’ wooden train tracks and work on a new layout. I’ll put together a dinosaur puzzle. Sometimes, I draw and color with their markers and glitter glue. I’ll make a giraffe or building with their Duplo bricks. Oftentimes, I find that what I need is simply the space and permission for a different type of imagining.”
—Melissa Rivero, author of The Affairs of the Falcóns (Ecco, 2019)