Make it a habit to read work that matches roughly what you hope to write and publish. Read the kind of books you’d like to write, the poems you’d like to write, the articles you’d like to write for magazines. Make it as important as anything else you schedule in your day, and never allow busyness to crowd out the time you devote to consuming other good works.
Write at a coffee shop. Yes, I’m serious. A crowded coffee shop may fire up your creativity. Researchers have done studies* that show that a moderate level of ambient noise, such as the whir of a coffee machine, improves performance on creative tasks by creating enough of a distraction to encourage people to think more imaginatively.
*yes, they research stuff like this.
When you’re not writing, read. The more you read, the better your sense for how to craft your own work — articles, stories, poems, novels — will be.
Writers from William Faulkner to Stephen King to JK Rowling have advocated reading. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master, we learn our craft by studying published work. Read the best of your chosen genre that you can find, read stuff you like, and don’t be afraid to read them many times. Reading instructs and inspires your own writing.
When it’s July 4, and you woke up late, but you have a really, really good writing day. A mid-afternoon reward.