Writing between books

When I’m writing a book, I’m a bit manic; sleep, laundry, cell phone messages, cooking all get ignored. If I can’t eat it one-handed, it’s too much effort. If I’m not falling asleep upright at my computer typing nonsense, then it’s not time for bed yet.

But what about the in-between times? I’m not yet starting a new project and I’m done revisions on FLASH. So what do I write now? It feels weird not to spend hours at the keyboard, yet I’m not quite ready to jump into my next novel.

But climbing into bed without writing feels odd, like I skipped brushing my teeth or some other vital part of my daily routine.

So I’ve been thinking about this – worrying about it almost – will my writing muscles atrophy? My craft weaken? I tell my students to live like writers and to write everyday – am I becoming a writing hypocrite?

Then I realized that I’m writing constantly – blogs, e-mails, notes to myself. I just wrote 27 students each a half-page of feedback on their first narratives. I’m writing, just not with a central purpose.

And more than taking the time to physically put pen to paper, I’m always composing. I narrate my life (in my head) even more than JD on Scrubs – is this normal?

So although I may not be writing it all down, I’m still writing little stories in my head.

How do others find ways to keep their writing fires lit between book projects? I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas.