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“For me, the key is to just be open and receptive. The only word coming to mind is ‘consumer,’ but I mean to consume ideas both within and outside your genre, and even beyond your own art form. One of the things that has inspired me in the past was being in artist colonies where I’d be working on my book alongside playwrights, painters, and performers. Just paying attention to their process and the things they’re working on allows you to see the problems in your work in a new way so you can find solutions.” Follow where your passion leads you. “Advice I could have used when I was younger? Follow what your curiosities are, even if they don’t feel serious. I used to have that separation in my mind of what is literary and high-brow and what is stuff you only talk about at a family party. I think whatever inspires you and feels fun can be literary and can be fodder for your work. It doesn’t have to be ‘high culture’; you just have to love it.” indulge in creative Fuel. “I see [mental block] now as as part of the whole process. It’s not something taking you away from writing; it is writing. The times when you’re staring at the screen or the page and nothing’s coming out is as much writing as when you’re fired up and in the zone and the words are flowing. One piece of good advice I got along the way is if you can’t write, you can always read, and that inevitably gets things moving again for me.” accept who you are. “In my 20s, I was very apologetic about calling myself a writer. But when I realized how religious I could become about the discipline and the process of sitting down each day, revising drafts, that’s when I felt like a writer. That came before selling and publishing the book. Even though the first question you hear when you tell someone you’re a writer is, ‘Where have you published?’ and ‘Have I heard of you?’, I felt less apologetic about because I’d come to really feel that, yeah, that’s what I do.” Forget about the externals. “This may not be true for everyone,but the one thing I’ve noticed is that fantasizing about external things is a really good sign that you’re not working. It was most painful