I'm the type of writer who doesn't have many story ideas. I know. It kind of stinks. They just don't come to me that often, and I mean like hardly ever when I say that. However, over the past eight years or so I'm proud to say I've kept a document of all my story ideas, like "a good little writer.". But, well, to be honest there's not much in the doc.
Anyway, I had this problem recently - I found myself without a new project to write. I'd had a meager couple interesting ideas while I'd written my last book, but none of them really jumped out tome or grew into anything all that captivating, so they've been sitting in the Story Idea doc to rot (at least for the time being).
Anyway, after trying to brainstorm ideas (and failing miserably, I might add), I opened up the Story Idea doc and perused it for a little while - and I came across an old idea that I felt had potential, so I mapped out the bare bones of a plot and even wound up writing the first 30 pages or so.
But it just wasn't ENOUGH. It was fun, but not ENOUGH fun. I wound up scrapping the project at that point (hadn't even done character sketches for it), and started to really lament not having a project to write. It really stinks to not have anything to do during "writing time," ya know what I mean? (Of course you do.)
Soooo...totally out of ideas as to how to get ideas (nice play on words, huh?), I opened up the Story Idea doc for a second time and went back a little farther, and BAM!!! I found an old idea that immediately spoke to me, and that I just HAD to write. Part of it was the fun plot twists that I'd already devised for the story, and another part was how other plot points and ideas for it immediately plowed into my brain. It was surreal, actually, and quite awesome.
Anyway, now I'm happily drafting this new story with character sketches and everything. So, it's true what your old writing teachers (and perhaps some wise people who just happen to know this sort of thing) say - always keep a Story Idea doc or file. You never know when it'll come in handy.
All right, back to drafting my new story, which, for the curious, is a.middle-grade science fiction novel (I have returned to the almighty middle-grade after brief forays into the young adult and adult worlds). Yay!