Sometimes you will find that the silliest exercises will clear your mind and allow you to write as you first intended. My latest opus, Full Moon City, is finally proofed, signed, sealed and delivered. I am starting on a sword and sorcery tale and I read a few chapters of Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword" an early Conan story and I have to admit I was blown away. There are a lot of books and short stories from the pulp era that just make me laugh but I was schooled and reminded how many great writers came before me.
If you are interested in writing short stories, I recommend you read Joyce Carol Oates anthology "The Oxford Book of American Short Stories". Like any anthology it is incomplete, but from Irving to Charlotte Perkins Gilman from Langston Hughes to Amy Tan, the book is a study in the range and breadth of voices in the American Short Story.
Alright, enough chit-chat, get back to writing my friends!