1. Read stuff and think about it.
2. Write down ideas.
3. Shape written down ideas into prose. Keep revising prose.
4. Document everything read and cited.
For research days, I like to use the afternoon for 1. The next day morning I will write down ideas I got the day before, or shape written down ideas into finished prose, or revise. Everything is basically reading, thinking, writing, and documenting. That's all there is to it. It sounds easy this way, but nothing will happen if you don't do steps 1 and 2.
I'm no sanjuanista, and I won't contribute anything to our knowledge of his poetry or theology. I have no interest in resolving controversies about how best to interpret his work, etc... or in contributing more to the commentary on the commentaries. But I can always find new things in the reception. Pope John Paul II defrocked the poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal, for being in the Sandinista govt. The interesting thing is that both men were devotés of San Juan de la Cruz. These kind of minor anecdotes are not what I'm about, but I think if they are accumulated they start to form patterns. For example: poets interested in the Saint, but for his mysticism and decidedly not his poetry. If we count Wojtyla as poet...