Writer’s Toolbox

Author Q&A

Here we present our exclusive collection of Q&As with a long list of illustrious authors.

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Janice Erlbaum

Janice ErlbaumJanice Erlbaum is the author of essays and memoirs such as Girlbomb and Have You Found Her.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

Step One: Forgive yourself for having writer's block. Don't get angry at yourself, and don't freak out. It happens, but if you're committed to getting over it, you will.

Step Two: ABC. Apply Butt to Chair. Sit down with your writing materials, and give yourself a goal. Ten minutes, 250 words, whatever sounds good to you. You don't need a subject, but if you feel like you do, write about the past three days of your life, or about your immediate surroundings. Force your way through it until you reach your goal, then save what you wrote and put it away so that you won't look at it with critical eyes.

Step Three: Reapply butt to chair on consistent basis. Just sit the hell down and write something, anything, and then do it again. And again. And again. 
 

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

1. Write a letter to someone, anyone. This person can be living or dead, but s/he has to be important to you. Important: Don't send the letter! 

2. What makes you angry, and why?

3. My closest near death experience was... 

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

"You should be writing for at least an hour a day." — Mona Simpson