I declare a vacation. Usually about a week long. I don’t look at any of my work during that week.
I get out my paper journal and pen and I write in it every day. I just brain-dump, all my complaints and worries and selfish egotistical thoughts. I’m writing to purge myself of the crap that has built up.
And then I read. I read every day. I read in my genre for one story, and then outside of my genre for one story. I’ve been catching up on “great” modern novels this year, but I’ve also been reading historical fiction, mystery, romance, and YA. I catch book recommendations from Stephen King, who hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
I write about what I’ve read. Just free-form stuff about what I like, don’t like, what it sparks in me. It’s all private so I can write whatever I really think; no one is going to look at it anyway
I go out of my way to enjoy art. A gallery or museum visit, getting lost in the met’s website, I listen to genres of music I don’t usually listen to every day but still enjoy. I look for award winning or classic film, but if what I want to watch is Captain America, well then okay.
I read nonfiction. I should read more nonfiction, but honestly I have to be interested or need it for future projects. I read biographies rarely, but I will read about a period of history or something on a subject that fascinates me.
I listen to podcasts. There are literally thousands of them. google “podcast (subject) and you’re likely to find something.
If I get an idea while i’m refilling, i will scribble it down in a bunny folder, but I won’t immediately leap on it to make a story. I need seven ideas for a story, so acting too quickly won’t help…
…But if I get mugged by an idea, then I follow it. getting an idea is one thing. you can scribble it down and forget about it. but sometimes a story comes in and it’s like…I don’t know. an entity. it’s got a setting I can see and characters who were born like Athena and things are happening that I need to write down. There’s no room in my brain for anything else, and I’m compelled to record what I see.