Romantic suspense author of Saint's Gate and The Whisper, Carla Neggers on what gets and keeps her writing.
Q: What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
A: Understanding and working with the rhythms of my creative life help me when I hit a block. Basically I recognize that I need to take myself off the hook. One way is to write through the tough patch. I don't think about progress or quality or problems. I just write. I accept that I'll throw out most of it. Not the point. The writing itself lets me stay in the story -- kind of like running in place -- and often leads to a breakthrough. Another way to take myself off the hook is to walk away from the project for an hour, an afternoon, a day or several days. I don't force myself to think about writing -- or not to think about it. I just relax, do something else and come back to the writing fresh.
Q: What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
A: Writing prompts? You mean like listening to Dropkick Murphys or the Young Dubliners at top volume first thing in the morning? ;-) I guess I don't have any real prompts. I do try to accept my creative process and recognize that I'm not a regimented writer, even if I sometimes (often!) think it'd be easier if I were. X number of pages for X number of hours X number of days of week...nah. That just doesn't work for me!
Q: What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
A: I've received so much great advice along the way that it's hard to pick just one bit. I guess I'd have to say Timothy Cohane, a professor of journalism at Boston University who taught a process for revising that I fall back on to this day. It's very specific and involved. I still will read through a work-in-progress first and mark what I like and don't like, without making changes. That gives me a sense of the whole. It's easier for writers to get caught up in the parts, so to speak.