I just gave this 'homework' to a new coaching client and thought I'd pass it on to you. It's always good to step back and take stock of our influences and goals, as well as what we think is problematic in our writing. Why? Read through the questions first, and I'll tell you.
1) Make a list of 5 writers you read regularly. Write down why you like their writing - not just the technical elements of their stories, but things like the tone or mood of their writing. The effect it has on you. Maybe its audience. Maybe how it makes you think or how it lingers with you long after you finish it.
You want to approach it like this: "This is what I love about it - it takes me into another world." (for example)
Now, ask yourself: How does the writer do that? What does he/she do craftwise/stylewise/voicewise to make that happen?" Try to do this so that your answers are a blending of the two parts of the question rather than two separate answers to two separate questions.
As writers, we have to look at the person behind the curtain. Not to imitate them - you want to keep your own style/voice - but to see how they made things happen in their story, how they approached their characters, or topic, etc., so you can try that method if you're attracted to it.
2) What writing habits do you have that you don't think serve you? What are 'mistakes' you find yourself making over and over in your stories? What are things you want to do in your writing and just don't know how? What element do you struggle with the most? (For example: maybe you have trouble writing dialogue, or you constantly forget to describe people, things like that.)
So now the why: so you can take steps to address the problem (get a book on writing dialogue, copy pages of dialogue from books you like to tape above your desk for inspiration, spend time 'overhearing' conversations in public, writing them down, then spiffing them up a little by introducing a conflict or backstory), or look at your writing and decide whether or not your influences are working for you or against you. Maybe you're trying too hard to incorporate a style that doesn't suit you. Maybe it's time to try reading some new writers. There's always room for improvement.
You get a physical every year, right? Give your writing a physical too. Look at what you're putting into your head, and what's coming out on the page. Are you reading and writing the same old stuff? Are you taking risks by writing about something new to you? Are you trying something new in your writing? Even switching from past tense to present can make a difference. Are you 'gathering' from inspiring places? Are you 'gathering' at all? Time to schedule a trip to a museum, or attend a poetry reading, or rent some foreign/independent films. Go to the theatre. Go somewhere unusual. I just took a tour of Greenmount Cemetery here in Baltimore and got a fabulous novel idea from a story about one of the people buried there. (Not telling what it is!) Get out there!
But first, do your homework.