One of the things I love to do most of all is to observe other people living their lives, preferably from a chair in front of a cafe.
It is a great hobby to have when you are a writer. Sometimes inspiration to write came from watching someone living their life. Most of the time I am not even aware of doing this.
Another thing I love to do comes in handy too. I love to watch people talk/gesture/argue and then imagine what their conversations are about. Some of my silliest stories come from imagined conversations like that.
My characters come to life when I add a lot of the observed quirks and imagined character traits into one mixing bowl and out comes a whole new, awesome character.
And sometimes, no matter how cool what I see is, I can’t make those I see into a character. The one example that comes to mind is the boy I once saw in the underground with the word “life” written on his forehead and his ar around a hockey stick.
Who knows, he might pop up in a story one day and surprise me by what character traits he has gathered from the scrapheap of ideas in my head.