1) Because my muse has a wicked sense of humor and visits me at odd times and in inconvenient places, I have learned to record inspirations/ideas immediately before I forget them or they dissolve into nothing.
I carry small notebooks, own a digital recorder, and have been known to text messages home. I will scribble on anything – old napkins I find in my glove compartment or old receipts. I even pop out of bed in the middle of the night to jot things on sticky pads.
2) Calendars are great places to find topics. I use important dates, seasons, and upcoming holidays to plan blog posts. I can also go back into my work calendar to refresh my memory about meetings, conferences, or books I have read that might be worth sharing with others.
3) I will sit with a good cup of coffee, pen and paper ready, and read the newspaper searching for topics, interesting characters, or modern trends. News channels and other newsfeeds are just as good.
4) I love to read the TV and movie guides for titles and descriptions. Not only are they great for a laugh, but they make great writing prompts.
5) I try to use my time driving around the city studying other drivers, billboards, road signs, and the flora and fauna. I am always alert looking for anything that might activate my muse.
6) I love to study people and have been known to follow strangers around Target just because of the way they are dressed, something they said, or because they look just like that new character I have been having trouble fleshing out in my latest work in progress. I call it character study, but HoneyBunch says it’s called stalking and it’s illegal in Texas.
7) I am addicted to crossword puzzles and have learned a lot of useful (and useless) information and vocabulary. Some of it works its way into my writing. (I wonder if Neve Campbell knows she is more well known in the crossword-puzzle world than she is in Hollywood?)
8) I read an immense amount both for recreation and to keep up with the craft of writing, and I make it a practice to use some of the wordsmithery and punctuation prowess in my own writing.
9) I listen to music, not only when I am working on mood and need help creating tone, but also to elicit a memory or a feeling.
10) And last but not least, I love to journal and have done so for the majority of my life. Besides all the emotional baloney I dump in there (and hope to burn before I die and my kids read it), it sometimes helps me come up with some pretty good topics.