Over the past couple of weeks I've read a lot of excellent short stories and novellas. I've been overdosing on stories by Connie Willis, Ray Bradbury, and those in an anthology of Nebula winners from 1977--in particular "The Screwfly Solution" by Raccoona Sheldon aka James Tiptree, Jr. aka Alice Bradley Sheldon, and Harlan Ellison's "Jeffty Is Five."
Sometimes when I'm reading non-stop like this, I have trouble resuming my own writing. Everything I want to say feels flat, my ideas unoriginal. On the one hand, I read these powerful works and they inspire me to push my writing further. On the other, it seems like it'd take such a monumental effort to attain the level of skill they exhibit. I don't even know where to start.
So I remind myself: the big picture will drive you crazy. Break goals down into manageable steps. Learn everything you can and be flexible. Make the best art you can. Don't forget to play.
And get back to work.