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.

Enzo Silon Surin

7.30.20

“I am often asked, who are you reading? Although I make a habit of walking around with books when I am working on a poem, I use the writers more as company, carrying them like an ‘in case of emergency’ policy so I don’t ever feel stuck.

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R. L. Maizes

7.23.20

“When I get stuck while writing, I change my surroundings. If I’ve been working at the pine kitchen table for a few weeks, I’ll switch to writing on my bed. If I’ve been working on the bed, I’ll migrate to the office.

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Leah Hampton

7.16.20

“Whenever I’m stuck, I call up a friend. Not to chat or commiserate, but to work. Specifically, to do their work. My only reliable solution for writer’s block is to set aside my draft and pick up someone else’s.

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Donna Hemans

7.9.20

“I think of writer’s block as a bubble, a physical thing I can step out of. When I am stuck or when the words sound hollow and wooden, I stop trying to write and instead try to regain my rhythm in movement. I physically change something.

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Brian Castleberry

7.2.20

“When I get stuck on a project or between things, my first reaction is to grumble around the house and act like the world has come to an end.

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Christina Chiu

6.25.20

“I’ve struggled with writer’s block most of my life, but writing my novel, Beauty, taught me a lot. What got me in the flow of the writing—and helped me to stay there—was taking a shoemaking class. The protagonist in Beauty adores couture and boots.

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Megha Majumdar

6.18.20

“What motivates me to write? The honest answer is perhaps a little dark: I imagine the feeling of great regret I’ll have to live with, if I don’t write the book that I know I can write. The wish to avoid that regret feels like fuel.

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Sharon Dolin

6.11.20

“As much as I have always been a writer and reader, entranced by what language does on the page, I have always been in love with visual art and the movies, so much so that I call myself an ekphrasist: a writer whose work engages with visual art.

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Sahar Mustafah

6.4.20

“Here’s an antidote for a writing slump: Record yourself reading a polished passage from your working draft. Go ahead—don’t be shy.

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C Pam Zhang

5.28.20

“I recommend soup, always, and especially now. It is comfort and it is excitement, both specific and universal.

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