Sean Chercover is the author of thrillers such as The Trinity Game and Big City Bad Blood.
What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
First, deny it permission to exist. Plumbers don't get plumber's block, lawyers don't get lawyer's block, physicians don't get doctor's block. It's your job. Some days your job is fun, some days it isn't fun, but you still have to do your job. Okay, so let's say you've denied it permission to exist but it didn't listen and now you find yourself blocked. It happens. Do something physical (go for a run, ride your bike, take a swim, engage in self-love, whatever) and then come back to your manuscript and revise the previous day's work to get a running start on the blank page. I find that running start will often help me break through. Finally, if you suddenly become blocked in the midst of your novel, it may be your subconscious signalling that you've taken a wrong turn - trying to force characters to do things that are out-of-character - so back up a couple chapters and see if this is the case. If so, fix it. If not, press on, denying writer's block permission to exist and reinforcing your routine.
What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
Reading is always number one. Read fiction you love and get inspired by encountering the unexpected on the page. Allow yourself to be wowed by the work of another writer, and you'll remember the joy of writing. Also, remember to always ask yourself the "What if..." questions. It's tempting to lock onto the first viable idea that comes along, but asking yourself, "What if...?" throughout the process helps keep you open to other and possibly better directions to take your characters.
What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
I have no idea where I heard it or who first said it, but the most valuable writing advice I've come across is, "Just write the book you want to read."