Pam Houston has established herself among American fiction writers with her first book, Cowboys Are My Weakness. As an author and the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis, she is not short of writing advice:
Q: What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
A: Instead of thinking I have to write a novel, or a story, or even a paragraph, I say, what is one thing that has happened to me in the last 72 hours that glimmered at me in that particular way that says, write me down? It might be something very brief, a line of overheard dialogue, a particular way light was reflecting off of some Aspen trees. I'm not going to write, I think to myself, I am just going to record this momentary thing so I don't forget it. More often than not, once I have done that I am off and running.
Alternate answer: Read Beloved for the twentieth time.
Q: What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
A: See answer to one above. But to that 72 hour glimmer I would add two more: one from at least five years ago, and one from any time at all.
Q: What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
A: "As important as how you tell a story is how you avoid telling it." Francois Camoin
> Visit Pam online at pamhouston.net
> Order a copy of Cowboys Are My Weakness or Waltzing the Cat