Scott Spencer is the author of many novels including Endless Love, Waking the Dead, and Man in the Woods.
What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
I think what we call writer’s block is our unconscious response to a problem that is embedded within the piece we are working on. Writer’s block is the canary in the coal mine—something is wrong and it needs to be discovered and addressed.
What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
My writer’s prompt is the clock. When it gets to be the time when I am meant to be working—in my case 9 AM—my brain goes into writing mode.
What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
I once house sat for Bernard Malamud and his wife. When Malamud learned that I had come to Vermont to work on a novel, he said, “Remember, you can’t rush the novel.” Patience! Sounds like a rather dull virtue, but really very important to writing, and re-writing, and re-writing yet again. My advice, by the way, to myself and to others, is to write something for a reader who will only read one or two things that entire year.