Carla Neggers

Carla NeggersCarla Neggers is the author of romantic suspense novels such as Saint's Gate and The Whisper.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

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.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

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!

What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?

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.