Tonight I sifted through Julia Cameron's The Right to Write, another how-to skewed more toward adjusting one's writing philosophy than actual instruction (I think someone in the family passed this copy onto me.) While there were some autobiographical shock-geysers I had to dodge now and then, it wasn't uber neurotic. I actually thought it was interesting. A bit merciless at times, like a Storm Trooper's writing manual. That said, I suppose when you write for Hollywood you have to armor up daily. An excellent book for anyone who wants to write but feels "unworthy" of being a writer.
I just finished writing my fourth novel of the year, and I'm in need of something more restful and lyrical, so I'm retreating to Sage Cohen and her Writing the Life Poetic. I find I keep going back to this book as a little sanctuary where I can be one with the verse. I think poetry always has been my biggest creative retreat; the one place I can go where I don't have to be on display. I'd also like to work my way through the book again and this time do all the try this exercises.
I also have book #5 and #6 to get started, but I'm giving myself this week and the holiday weekend off to recharge and catch up on house work. I have a stack of fiction books to read, and when I get restless I have two rooms I'm reorganizing that I can work on. I don't usually take this much downtime between projects, but the last book was such an intense writing experience that I know I need a few more days to get it out of my head.
An ongoing part of the writing life is learning what works to reset/detox/restore yourself after you finish a story. I know cleaning the house sounds dull, but I like house work and the exercise helps me shake off the cobwebs. Reading fiction for pleasure helps back off the muse and the internal editor, plus it's a nice reward for crossing the novel finish line.
What do you do after the work is done and you're between stories? What do you find rejuvenates you most? Let us know in comments.