I occasionally wonder where the inspiration for my writing comes from. Sometimes the idea comes from a dream; other times I'm inspired by something I see on TV, in a movie, or in a book (no, I'm not talking about stealing a plot. Just being struck by an idea or comment and taking it in an entirely different direction.). I've been inspired by conversations with friends and family, and occasionally I'll have no idea where the story came from. It was just there and demanded to be written.
Today I got stuck working on a young adult novel. I decided to talk to my dad and see if he had any suggestions that would spark my imagination. As we sat on the front porch, enjoying the beautiful (if windy) weather, and my younger brother came out with a guitar. He was playing around with it and suddenly I had the inspiration I needed for my story. Instead of the direction I'd been going, I switched gears and used the guitar I'd mentioned earlier in the story. The ideas are still coming, thanks to that little bit of inspiration.
I've heard it said that everything is fodder for a writer. The longer I write, the more I learn just how true that saying is. An expression on a stranger passing by, the atmosphere of a family dinner, the evening news... All of it can be used in my writing, though it's rarely (if ever) identifiable in its fictional from as coming from a particular place. One of the most important things I've learned about writing is to observe everything. You never know when you'll remember the tiniest, seemingly unimportant thing at just the right time for your story.