Prolific Author Says, “What’s Writer’s Block?”

Tom Soter, 2015
Tom Soter, 2015

Tom Soter, the author, co-author, or editor of nearly a dozen books released since January 2014, says he doesn’t believe in writer’s block.

“If you’re an improviser (and we all are to some extent), you trust your first instinct and go with that (you can always revise it later). I talk about my writing methods in both DISAPPEARING ACT (in the story called, ‘The Ten-Minute Paper’) and A DOCTOR & A PLUMBER IN A ROWBOAT (in the chapter on improv and writing). Graham Greene used to deal with writer’s block by going to bed and trusting that his unconscious would work out the problems he was having. It usually did.”

Soter at home.
Soter at home.

Soter went on say that the ideas for his books are generated by circumstance. “My most recent books are A DOCTOR & A PLUMBER IN A ROWBOAT: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO IMPROVISATION (co-authored with Carol Schindler/Dec), THE WHOLE CATASTROPHE (co-authored with George Soter/April), and BEDBUGS, BIONDI & ME (May). The first one came from my love of teaching improv, which I have been doing since 1987, and my desire to put my experiences, thoughts, and teaching philosophies into a more permanent form. The second book was done because I wanted other people to know what a great guy my dad was (and possibly because, despite his many accomplishments, he didn’t merit an obituary in the Times, which irked me). And the third was done to assemble five years of ‘Editor’s Note’ columns – with useful advice and fun stories – into a more lasting form than the pages of HABITAT magazine, where they first appeared.”

Soter in Paris, some years ago.
Soter in Paris, some years ago.

In August, when we sat down with him, the writer said: “I’m finishing up my fourth book of essays called DRIVING ME CRAZY. I have about three or four more pieces I’d like to write. At the same time, I’m reviewing material for a compilation of fiction that I wrote between 1968 and 1975. It will be  called LOOK AT THEM NOW, and will also include stories by Alan Saly, Tom Sinclair, and Christian Doherty.”

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