Writers Recommend

In this online exclusive we ask authors to share books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired them in their writing. We see this as a place for writers to turn to for ideas that will help feed their creative process.

Paul Hlava Ceballos


It’s easy to fall into the despair of wanting too much. The decade I was researching and writing my poetry collection, banana [ ], was punctuated by that despair. Old classmates and colleagues published books and won prizes, and I wanted that. I wanted to be farther along in my research.

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Cheryl E. Klein


If, like me, you sometimes find interviews with prose writers overwhelming and envy-inducing—a bit like staring directly at the sun—I recommend listening to other types of artists talk about their work. You get the light at an angle, without the burn.

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José Angel Araguz


When creatively stuck, I try to suss out what in my reading (and this includes music, art, etc.) excites me so that I must follow it and try either a new form or take on a new subject, or even a new dimension of self. Currently, two writers have had that effect.

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Lisa Nikolidakis


When I’m at work on a book-length project—when I’m really in it—I’m good. I can stay in a flow. But in between projects?

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Mikko Harvey


When I’m too closed off from my inner life—when I’ve drifted into a mindset of fixating on my to-do lists, my frustrations, my stresses—I have almost no chance of writing a good poem.

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Oscar Hokeah


My debut novel, Calling for a Blanket Dance, is fourteen years in the making. Fourteen years! I wrote the two earliest chapters back in 2008 and 2009, when I was an undergrad at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

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Jamil Jan Kochai


I keep a copy of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude near my desk at all times, not just because it’s my favorite novel, but because it’s a book so jam-packed with characters and events and magic and violence that whenever I find myself stuck writing a particular scene o

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Meng Jin


Look at trees—look at rocks—look at birds and grass and leaves. Step out briefly from the human world into the world where “I” exists, like a figure in a Chinese landscape painting, as a small point in the periphery.

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Jhani Randhawa


When I become stuck in my writing (which is to say, almost every time I try to get something onto the page), I often consider where else I experience stuck-ness and what sensations emerge in my body. Today, I am thinking about rock climbing.

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Diana Goetsch


All writers must engage in two major activities—composing and revising—and I’ve never met a writer who didn’t greatly favor one over the other. I love revising, which I can engage in anytime, anywhere.

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