Being a writer involves writing. You've got to commit to sitting down and writing instead of Xbox or Netflix.
Don't just rehash what came before. Find new things to do with it, in your unique voice.
Everything can be grist for the muse. Sometimes, writers draw on personal experiences. 'Ghoul' was just that.
I tend to spend a lot of time building characters that the reader will believe in and sympathize with.
'Castaways' was a play on what if a reality show like 'Survivor' was unknowingly set on an island inhabited by a sub-human race of creatures? Readers have often asked me to consider turning the short story into a full-length novel. So I did.