One thing I encourage my students to pursue is a extensive DRAWING LANGUAGE. This means that you have multiple styles, techniques, tools, applications, and experiences to draw from when you are creating. If you only ever knew how to use a graphite pencil and make realistic portraits, then that is all you will ever do. But if you start drawing with charcoal...or pastel...or watercolor...then try to be abstract...or surreal...you will find that the more knowledge you have about materials, techniques and styles, the broader your range becomes, the more succesful your art becomes.
Of all the things I invest my money in, the things that bring me the best bang for my buck are my art books. One book that has introduced me to a broad range of style and technique is "Drawing From Life" by Clint Brown and Cheryl McLean. I've had mine for 11 years and I still love to absorb information from it's pages.
From this book, a few of the techniques I've tried... (my drawings are on the left - click on any image to view it larger)
Drawing with a geometric approach...like the drawing done by Lin Xiang (who was actually one of my undergrad profs!) .
Drawing using a wide variety of mark-making...like the drawing by Jim Dine.
Creating drama with light and shadow...like the drawing by Sidney Goodman.
There are probably hundreds of ideas to try and grow from in this book. If you're learning about drawing the figure or have done figure drawing for years and feel like you need a jolt of inspiration, check this book out!