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.

Nawaaz Ahmed


“For almost the entire period of the ten years I worked on my debut novel, Radiant Fugitives, my writing sessions have started the same way, listening to the same piece of music: ‘Libertango’ by Argentine composer As

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Fred D’Aguiar


“When I get stuck in my writing, I walk away from it. I write while standing at my desk, so all I do is turn on my heels and leave. Sometimes, I perform my departure from my desk. I tiptoe or do a mock walk of disdain, or mimic RuPaul on a catwalk (as if I could!).

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Kia Corthron


“When I initially considered the question of what it is I do when I feel stuck in my writing, I felt stuck. Do I ever hit a wall? Then I remembered: all the time! It’s just that my tricks to overcome sudden inertia are now so ingrained that I usually forget I’m in a temporary slump.

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David Hoon Kim


“In the past, when things blocked up, I would go out and take a walk around the neighborhood, following familiar streets or ones less familiar and ending up at some unexpected corner.

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Devi Lockwood


“When I’m stuck in my writing, movement keeps me going. New Hampshire has forty-eight mountains that are taller than 4,000 feet. Throughout the process of writing my first book, I plotted routes to hike each mountain and convened with friends for those long walks. Eleven 4,000 Footers remain.

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YZ Chin


“For a short while, I worked in an archival library that holds the papers of major downtown artists like David Wojnarowicz. It felt overwhelming at first to be surrounded by so much evidence of genius. Then I found it meaningful, because it is momentous and very mundane at the same time.

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Yoon Choi


“I try not to rely on inspiration in my writing life, but sometimes, when I need to escape the tyranny of my style and process, I try something that worked for Joan Didion. I type the inspired words of other people.

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Saïd Sayrafiezadeh


“When I was in my late twenties, I received a fellowship from a prominent New York theater company to write a play. It was, up to that point, the pinnacle of my success, and I treated it as such: reveling, rejoicing—and, because I was a novice, doing nothing.

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Sabina Murray


“With each book I’ve written, there has been a companion piece of music. I listen to the song or composition cycle through on repeat until I’m in a sort of hypnotic state. This keeps me inspired. Sometimes the music is classical. Sometimes it’s not.

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Mike Gayle


“We’re told that sitting is the new smoking. Well, I’m currently in the middle of a new book so I’m burning my way through several packs a day, Hemmingway style.

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