I'm sitting in Pearson Airport, in Toronto(a.k.a. center of the known universe), waiting for a flight to Ottawa. I love this airport because it is very busy and gives ample opportunity to one of my favorite pastimes. People watching.
People watching is a great pass time for any writer as it gives you lots of fodder to develop characters. Pearson is filled with characters. Toronto is the most ethnically diverse city in the world and they are all represented here at Pearson.
When I see someone that really catches my eye I take careful note of how they walk, stand, dress, speak (where possible) and file this away in my ever present journal for future use. Looking for a grizzled old guy to be the ferryman in your next novel? He'll probably walk by in the first ten minutes you're here. Maybe a space raider for a SF novel. He, or she, is here as well.
I read an article a few days ago about making maximum use of your day by never "killing time" since you are given a fixed allotment of it and you shouldn't waste a minute. So, for a writer, people watching becomes a great way to fill up those 10 and 15 minute intervals in your day with a productive exercise.
I have to go. Here comes the ferryman I was waiting for.