My son is five, and instead of reading a book every night before bed, about two years ago he started asking me to make up a story. So I obliged. He's five...there was no pressure...easy-peasy. The next night he wanted another one. The next night he wanted two. By the end of the week we were at three original stories per night.
I quickly realized these stories didn't have to be perfect. They didn't even have to have a real plot. They just needed to entertain.
Once I ran out of story ideas, I began to asking him for the subject of each story, and it became an exercise in creativity. One night he wanted three stories about a suitcase. Around Christmas, each night was three stories about Mr. Grinch.
During the past two years I have told over 2000 original stories. Some nights I am truly tapped out. But forcing myself to make up something - anything - is always beneficial.
One night I decided to tell a story about a character I had come up with but had had trouble finding a plot. When I was forced to make up a story about him on the spot, suddenly I found myself telling a story that actually worked! It is now one of the books we will soon submit to editors.
So if you have a kid, or if you know a kid, make up stories for him! It will force you to find the stories that are deep inside you...sometimes bad, sometimes weird, but sometimes great!