Molly Dektar Recommends...

“I recommend trying to write a set number of words each day, rather than for a set period of time. ‘The muse visits during the act of creation, not before,’ said Roger Ebert, a quote I found in Jami Attenberg’s TinyLetter newsletter. I also find it helpful to write in a bunch of different moods and physical states. I like writing (and writing can be just looking at a draft, adding a few words in the margins) early in the morning, or as I’m falling asleep—on the train, at work, in class, crying, euphoric, inebriated, or sick. Sometimes your mind needs to be in a different place, as if you are another person. It’s sort of like putting your work away in a drawer and coming back to it in a couple of years, which is Zadie Smith’s advice. Similarly, I enjoy writing with different kinds of pens and pencils on different kinds of paper (an idea from my poet friend David), and when I can’t go to a museum, I like going to Sephora and spraying on all kinds of perfume. (They’ll give you a free tiny squirt bottle sample of anything you want.) Activating my senses and becoming someone else for a moment helps wear down some of the usual judgmental thoughts of my work, and gives me the courage to put down more words.”
—Molly Dektar, author of The Ash Family (Simon & Schuster, 2019)