Pam Houston

Pam HoustonPam Houston is the author of several books, including the short story collection Cowboys Are My Weakness.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

Instead of thinking I have to write a novel, or a story, or even a paragraph, I say, what is one thing that has happened to me in the last seventy-two hours that glimmered at me in that particular way that says, write me down?  It might be something very brief, a line of overheard dialogue, a particular way light was reflecting off of some Aspen trees. I'm not going to write, I think to myself, I am just going to record this momentary thing so I don't forget it. More often than not, once I have done that I am off and running.  

Alternate answer: Read Beloved for the twentieth time.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

See answer to one above. But to that seventy-two-hour glimmer I would add two more: one from at least five years ago, and one from any time at all.

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

"As important as how you tell a story is how you avoid telling it."  — Francois Camoin