Writing is creatively draining.
I don’t mean that in a bad way—just as an honest assessment of the flow of creativity within me. While I love to write and can’t imagine ever not writing, I need to step away from the computer and renew myself on a daily basis. I fear that if I continually empty the well and never pour anything back in, one day I’ll wake up to find I’m burned out.
Renewal comes in a variety of forms. To charge my creative battery, I can read, watch TV, go for a walk, or simply sit and think. It has to be an activity I find inspiring. Books by authors I love are an easy choice. But so are books on improving my craft or research books. Movies and well-written TV series work, too, because I can’t help but analyze why certain plot elements work for me and others don’t and applaud when the writers surprise me. Exercise of any kind gets the blood pumping and increased blood flow to the brain is always helpful.
But interacting with the world in a calm, leisurely way works best for me. Watching the ducks in the park, savoring cream cheese and lox at the bagel shop, discussing the weather with my neighbors, enjoying brunch with family members, or sucking in a deep breath of cool, spring air–all of them can rejuvenate me and send me back to the key board with fresh enthusiasm and new ideas.
The important part is refilling the well.
Getting back to craft books for a second, the book on my shelf with the most worn pages is Dwight V. Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. There’s yellow highlighter on almost every page. Who wants to share their can’t-live-without-it writing skills book?