Before a writing session, I like to read a little, but not a novel with a strong voice or complicated plot that might distract me when I'm getting ready to focus on my own plots, my own voice. The journals of May Sarton work well for this. The entries are short, there isn't a traditional "plot" to keep track of, and she usually says something about writing.
This morning, I happened to be reading an entry for an August 26, which is also today's date. The entry opened this way:
Grumbach is here for two nights and a day and it is good to know
someone is working downstairs, a fellow writer. It is rarely that a
writer comes to stay, and it makes me see once more that no one who is
not engaged in this particular struggle, to bring a vision of life out
into words, can really understand what it is all about and the hazards
that assail the writer every day ... It is wonderful to be able to talk
freely without being thought absurd, self-pitying, or narcissistic about
these silent battles."--from Recovering: A Journal
remarkable to read that entry with today's date, because today I hosted
a fellow writer for a mini-retreat at my house. She worked downstairs
while I worked upstairs, and at lunchtime we "talked freely" about our
"silent battles!" It really is encouraging to have another writer in the
house, as if the progress of each of us feeds into the progress of the
other. Also by committing to this, we each formally set aside writing
time that would not be disturbed by the distractions, household chores,
etc., of a typical day.
I made substantial progress on my
manuscript, and she processed a detailed critique in order to plan a
revision. Altogether, a most satisfying day.