As writers, we are often trapped inside the home or in the office, living in our own little world that we have invented inside our own little mind. This is great when you are working on a current book project, but what about after you have finished your book and feel drained of new ideas? Then it is time to get out and explore the world around you. Gain inspiration from any of these activities.
The Knick Knack Store
There are certain stores I like to visit for inspiration and they sell everything from knick knacks to antiques. In fact, I can't walk into an antique mall without a pen and paper for writing down all the ideas I get just by looking at everything. Many of these types of places are family friendly and have a restaurant and an outdoor area to enjoy yourself. Make a day of it.
Craft, Hardware, or Health Food Stores
I get book and article ideas from all these places and they are all a quick drive from my home. Whenever I need a brain jiggle for inspiration, I'll visit one of these stores to brainstorm. I also check out the books on the racks to see what the major publishers are putting out.
There are monuments all over the place. You probably drive by at least one that you have never stopped to look at. Head outside and check it out. It may be boring, but, then again, it may spark an idea.
Museums and Art Exhibits
You may be sick of hearing about this recommendation, but it is one that really works. Even if you don't really appreciate art or history exhibits, there will always be something there to spark your imagination. Stop by the guest shop for even more ideas.
Go Camping. In a Tent.
There is no better way, in my opinion, to de-stress, re-focus, and come up with ideas than by camping in a tent. Look for local state parks in your area. They usually have cheaper tent camping prices than commercial campgrounds. If you absolutely abhor the idea of camping in a tent, then rent a cabin or yurt for the night. Spend the night in front of the fire pit and relax. You will probably find yourself getting hit left and right with ideas so bring along pen and paper.
Visit Libraries and Bookstores
I am a library addict and can walk away with at least 10 books at a time. My teens also have library cards so that when I hit my book limit, I borrow more books on their cards. I then immerse myself for a few days in books, books, and more books.
Another thing I like to do between writing books is go to the local Goodwill store. They sell used books there at 25 cents a piece. I go in with $5.30 and walk out with 20 books. It's heavenly.
Walk, Hike, Run
Exercise gets the blood flowing and reduces stress. It also boosts your creativity. Get out and hike a new trail. You can find lists of trails in your area by simply doing an online search. Learn a bit about the history of the trail and the area that it is in. These are excellent sources for book ideas.
Go see a movie. Go see a play. Step out of your element and watch something outside of your genre.
Fairs and Festivals
From May Day to Halloween, there are fairs going on everywhere. Make plans to attend as many of them as you can. These events are almost always a great source ideas for books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Just Do Something. Anything
It doesn't matter what you do, just make sure it is outside of the house or office where you work. Even going out to the wood pile and chopping wood will reduce stress and get your creative juices flowing. Going out to a fine restaurant is also a nice way to relax and eavesdrop on conversations for inspiration.