Mignon Fogarty is the author and creator of the educational podcast Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.
What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
I only get writer's block when I don't have a deadline, so I try to have deadlines for things I actually want to write. Sometimes people will give me an assignment—something like a blog post or op-ed piece—and think they are being nice by saying I can turn it in whenever I have it ready. Those are the projects I'm least likely to finish.
What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
Since I don't write fiction, I don't use traditional writing prompts, but I get a lot of my ideas from things I read—both news events and specific sentences or words that catch my eye give me ideas for articles. I spend a lot of time reading, especially online.
What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
When I was in college, I figured out quickly that I could skip class and still get great grades, so I spent most of my time goofing around. One of my English professors, whose class I rarely attended, told me I should drop out. She said it took more than talent to be a successful writer, and I was wasting my time, her time, and my parents' money. It was a huge shock to be told to drop out, so it made an impression on me. I don't remember her name, since I wasn't very engaged in her class, but I'm sure she'd be surprised to see what a hard worker I am today.