Jess Rothenberg: “The Art of Getting Unstuck” + The Kingdom Blog Tour

Happy release day today to The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg. To help celebrate as part of the official blog tour today, we’ve got a great guest post from Jess. Keep reading for more & to learn more about The Kingdom, in stores today.

by Jess Rothenberg

Writer’s block. The Murky Middle. Mom Brain. Whatever you call it, getting stuck is just one of those things that’s bound to happen at some point—or alas, many points—during the emotionally, intellectually, and physically grueling (all that sitting can do a real number on your body) marathon that is Writing a Novel.

Depending on the person, depending on the complexity of the story, depending on the outline (or lack thereof), and depending on the deadline, the length of time it can take to get from concept stage to a fully-fledged first draft can vary wildly. I have friends who pump out several thousand words each day like clockwork and others who may not write anything for weeks, months, or even years at a time. Some write like wildfire. Others deliberate, word by word, line by line, page by page, teetering on the brink of insanity. *Waves hello from the brink*

But whether you write like the wind or a snail, there will almost certainly come a moment, however fleeting, when suddenly—CRASH—you hit that wall. And when you do, it can be daunting, unnerving, and utterly paralyzing. What was I thinking? What am I doing? What does it all MEAN??

Trust me, I’ve been there. But before you stuff your precious blood, sweat, and tears in a dusty basement drawer never again to see the light of day, here are six easy tips to try:

  1. Take a nap.

These days, between the 24/hour news cycle, extreme binge-watching, and the suck of social media, our brains are on constant overload. And sometimes—as Jodie Foster reminded us in Contact when she referenced Occam’s razor—the simplest answer tends to be the right one. So when inspiration has left the building, when the words flow like molasses, give your brain the break it needs and take a refreshing nap. Even twenty-minutes has been known to work wonders.

  1. Eat something spicy.

According to some studies, eating spicy food can release chemicals that mimic euphoria. Capsaicin, the compound that makes hot peppers hot and which, when mingled with proteins on the surface of your tongue’s nerve cells, can (in addition to creating the sensation of pain) release happy-making endorphins similar to a “runner’s high.” As we all know, endorphins not only relieve stress but can offer a helpful burst of happiness and hope when all else seems lost. (p.s. Chocolate works, too.)

  1. Teach yourself a new skill.

Whether tap dancing or ukulele, chopping onions without crying or unclogging your kitchen sink, there is literally nothing you can’t learn these days from watching YouTube. Sometimes a new life skill is just the thing to unclog your kitchen sink.

  1. Use a Lifeline/Phone a Friend.

The trouble with being a writer is that you are by yourself, alone with your thoughts, likely wearing the same sweatpants you’ve slept in for the last two weeks, A LOT. Talking to other (non-imaginary) humans is not only good for the soul, it’s good for brainstorming pesky plot holes that have taken both your life and your word count hostage.

  1. Go to the library and get lost.

When you’re in the thick of it—I mean the murkiest, muddiest middle—it can be easy to forget why, when there were likely other career opportunities, you’ve chosen to torture yourself in this way. Not only is the library a great place for people watching (all the better to inspire you, my dear), it’s the perfect place to reconnect with the beloved stories and friends who sparked your earliest love of reading and called you down this weird yet wonderful path in the first place.

  1. Just do it.

Sometimes, it’s really just that simple. Writing is hard, even miserable at times, but if it’s your true passion, or simply the thing you need to stay sane, not writing is even harder. Butt, meet chair. Just do it.

Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.

JESS ROTHENBERG is a writer and freelance editor who grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. A former editor of books for young readers, including the #1 International Bestselling Vampire Academy series, Jess lives in New York City with her husband, son, and cat-who-thinks-he’s-a-dog, Charlie. Her debut novel for teens, The Catastrophic History of You & Me, has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

To find out more, visit or follow Jess on Instagram and Twitter at @jessrothenberg.

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