“Last week a non-writer friend asked Facebook for advice on how to separate two drinking glasses that were stuck together.
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.
“For me, feeling stuck in my writing really boils down to a sense of loneliness.
“I’ve grown to understand that when I lack inspiration to write it’s somehow related, maybe even caused by, having strayed—mentally, emotionally, and probably physically—from my creative self.
“I write every day, but not always to share. When I am writing something that I want to share but the words stall, I remind myself what a privilege it is to voice my thoughts, to have access to language, put ideas to page, and to by and large feel safe doing so.
“I recommend grazing.
“Plot does not come naturally to me. Instead of staring at a blank page hoping for inspiration, I take a long walk and dictate to myself using my phone’s recording app. I pose a single question like: In this scene, how does character A anger character B? Then I talk to myself.
“The world is often too much with us in all its tumultuous glories and calamities. Its whirling, tumbling, and churning can lay waste to our cognitive energies. The only way for me to still and organize the inner chaos is through my journal, which I’ve maintained since my early teens.
“The transition to new work after I complete a story or book is the tricky place for me, the liminal space in which I am no longer inside what I just finished, but am not yet inside whatever is on the horizon.
“Poetry is my way of paying attention. Attention as a form of relational and intellectual rigor, attention as a political action. I’m practicing to trust my body’s signals. When the stuckness comes, I try to turn that attention back inward: What does the block feel like, and why is it there?