“When I hit a wall in my writing, my first impulse is to try bashing my way through. I hunch and grit my teeth and commence an endless cycle of writing very laboriously, then cross out everything I’ve written and start anew. This is my initial tendency when I encounter most problems: I worry and waste a lot of time and energy trying to fix them, even if they can’t be solved right then and there, even if the situation is out of my hands.
Over time, I’ve learned that the best way to get unstuck in my writing is to take a small head-clearing break. I find walks especially helpful. Or running a brief errand that I can do somewhat absentmindedly, like grocery shopping. I’ll think a little bit about the problem itself (e.g. what will happen next, a character’s reaction, a plot inconsistency) while I’m out and about. Somehow physical movement and the change in scenery always help me come up with a satisfactory solution. Even so, I still find it difficult to follow my own advice!”
—Tiffany Tsao, author of The Majesties (Atria Books, 2020)