Sometimes players find themselves in a roleplaying rut and worry about stagnancy of their characters. Sometimes they lack new direction, or they are bored of the same type of roleplaying encounters, day after day.
What's best about mushing is that it's an exercise of give and take--an interactive experience where we write stories together. When we worry about our characters losing direction or becoming static, it's a sure sign that we've been doing more of the taking than the giving in our own personal roleplaying equation. The almost foolproof cure to this ailment is to balance it out by giving.
Now, many of us give in terms of staffing or helping other players out of character. This is a good and healthy thing, but it's not the kind of giving I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is entertainment. When you use your character to entertain others, it will come back to you a thousand-fold.
1) Random Acts of Chaos
Perhaps you have a bit of a trickster character, playful by nature, perhaps driven to pranks when stressed. If so, you can cause a lot of roleplaying for others by letting this express itself. Play a prank. Forge love letters. Shoot off an arrow in a crowded room.
2) Random Acts of Meddling
But perhaps your character isn't the flashy type, or all of the chaos you can think of is likely to get you killed. Maybe your character is more of a nurturer. A person who forges and tends relationships. If so, you can always use your character to meddle in the lives of others, trying to make their lives conform to what your character thinks is best. Generosity. Kindness. Matchmaking. Nagging. Spying. Eavesdropping. Sneaky political plays. Talking to their boss, their wife, their children, etc. The disruption you cause for others will enrich their roleplaying experience, and yours.
3) Random Acts of Violence
But perhaps your character is a brooder, without a huge sense of fun, or a bit tempermental. This gives you a great opportunity to poke a little fun at your character, and give other characters the opportunity to do the same. Take offense at something harmless so that you cause a big scene and later have to apologize. Start a bar fight, then buy drinks for everyone afterwards. Smack someone around in a drunken rage, then have your family bail you out of jail and use your connections to beat the rap. These things win you friends and enemies, both of which are essential to a character's continued vitality.
4) Random Acts of Flirtation
Love makes the world go round, but flirtation makes it shake. Have a crush on someone. Make them think you have a crush on them. Perhaps just be a cad and flirt without intention. Lead someone on. It's in character for just about everyone.
5) Random Acts of Angst
Note how fairy tales end with 'And they lived happily ever after'. The key word there is that they END. So make trouble for yourself and others to keep your story going. Thwart your character's goals or the goals of others. If your character is happily married, start a fight. Get jealous. Make your lover jealous. Have an affair to apologize for. Nothing is more boring than a truly happy character. The moment you run out of disatisfaction, you are doomed.
6) Random Acts of Leadership
If you have a character that's in charge of things, delegate so that other people have things to do. Send people on quests. Set up challenges for people that make their goals difficult. Set people against one another. Don't make yourself overly available. You deprive other people of roleplaying opportunities by fixing their problems with a snap of your fingers. Try to make every scene one of those encounters that others will tell their grandchildren about.
7) Random Acts of Clumsiness
Perhaps your character has bad luck or is a little hapless. If that's the case, have accidents. Perhaps you accidentally set someone's house on fire. Overturn a cart. Walk into a wall. Leap to the wrong conclusion. Forget to water the crops. Walk out of a noble's house with an item you didn't mean to take. Send a messenger to the wrong person. These things can cause minor calamities and opportunities for you to entertain and be entertained.
And tonight is "The Big Night". I still have no idea what to wear or what to say but I can't wait. It looks like the show is running just a snitch over 2 hours, so with warm-ups and break time, I should get us out of there just a few minutes late to meet everyone at the resturant at 9:00. Mark and I will miss cocktails and appetizers before, but I think we will live.