Sarah Blake Recommends...

“When I find myself in the writing weeds, I have finally learned to pay attention to the warning signs: Stop. Go back. Do not push farther in. I resist the urge to soldier on, to muddle through, to fix a line here or there, to delete whole paragraphs that make no sense at that moment, to get to the end of the page. Sometimes I am concentrating so hard I can almost hear the synapses up there groaning, the machinery grinding to a slow, protesting halt. And I give in. I nap. Conk out. Let sleep’s hammer fall. Writers write, we’re told endlessly. Yes, but writers must also stop. When my sons were in middle school and getting to bed on time was a nightly battle, I discovered that the most effective weapon I had was to repeat the time-honored pediatric salve: You only grow when you are lying down. Lie down—the body knits its own plots. Often when I wake, it’s hard not to feel there are elves, and they come out, and move what has been hidden in the workshop into plain sight. Oh there, there’s the word, there’s the way out.”
—Sarah Blake, author of The Guest Book (Flatiron Books, 2019)