I have a love/hate relationship with my writing process.
Once I get an idea, I cannot let it go until I have furiously scribbled it on paper. In fact, I think I may have reached a new level of madness recently: inspiration struck, and the only paper on hand was the back of a few old receipts lying neglected in the bottom of my bag.
That inspiration? In the form of a novel I had loved as a child. I received a pristine copy of Little Women from an old writer friend of mine, who knew it was one of my favorite books. "Perhaps rereading it will get you out of your writer's block," he had said soothingly. My scholarly friends have always heard me vehemently claim that writers are influenced by the literature they have read, and I am certainly no exception to that. Sidebar: don't believe me? J.K. Rowling stated in an interview after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that her tale of the deathly hallows was based on "The Pardoner's Tale" from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Harvard has a nice translation from the Middle English here.
I couldn't remember the last time I had reread Little Women. "When am I going to have the time to read this?" I had whined. I needed to make headway on my novel, not reread old literature! "Just try it," he had coaxed. "Take a break. Read a book. Heck, read a few! What harm could it do?"