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.

Janine Joseph


In late 2008, I survived a traffic collision while stopped at a red light. I have no memory of that night, and spotty memories of my life before, though I know the accident—and traumatic brain injury I sustained—changed me and my writing process.

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Vanessa A. Bee


I have found that when I am uninspired or dissatisfied with a project’s structure, the key to unlocking my brain is almost always to consume great writing by other people. If I am feeling lucky, I reach out for whatever literary fiction is sitting on my nightstand.

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Janice Obuchowski


When writing, I can get lost in my thoughts, which feels metaphorically like darkness: I can’t see my way forward; I feel hemmed in. Most often, my answer is to get outside. I need the counterbalance of movement, light, open air.

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Ryan Lee Wong


For any writer who opens a blank document and feels a gnaw of anxiety or dread, maybe doubts whether to write at all, I recommend meditation. Zazen, the Zen Buddhist meditation I learned, means sitting there without expectations. This is perfect for writers.

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Zein El-Amine


The best advice about being stuck in your writing that I recall is the example that Ray Bradbury gave us: “If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful.

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Courtney Faye Taylor


When my debut poetry collection, Concentrate, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, I moved from a space of writing to one of editing. The book’s release signals a return to my generative space, the creative mode that makes new work possible.

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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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