Let Yourself Read. Many writers think they're not writing if they're reading, but in fact, reading -- whether it's the morning paper, background research materials, or somebody else's novel -- is a great way to prime the creative pump. You can write about 5 hours a day -- I did about 4000 words a day on my retreat -- but eventually either your brain or your hands will give out, and then it's time to lie around and read. I usually bring the books that have piled up at home, plus
some other page turner. I also bring novels that I admire, and that I might think I can learn from for whatever project I'm working on at the moment. No, I don't worry about other people's work infusing/confusing my own.