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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Mary Gaitskill

Mary GaitskillMary Gaitskill is the author of several novels and short story collections including Veronica and Bad Behavior.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

That depends on what the block feels like. Sometimes I just stop writing and do something else for awhile, preferably something as mindless as possible. I walk a lot. Like hours. Other times I force myself to write, but very loosely, almost free-associating without worrying about the quality.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

I don't believe in prompts. The impulse needs to come from inside, not outside.

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

The good advice I've gotten has always been about a particular piece of work. I don't think I've ever gotten general advice on writing.