Look at any book and find a phrase that speaks to you. Stop there and store that phrase in your mind’s eye. Walk about with it. Dream of it. Turn it over in your mind’s eye, until gradually an image emerges.
Sometimes these moments of inner fermentation happen without prompting. Suddenly, there is an idea, formed, it would seem, by itself. Often upon waking, I realize there is a new gift, an imaginative concept that is waiting to be played with. That is certainly a welcome moment in the life of a creative person.
However, often the ideas grow in connection with a prompt from one’s daily activities, visual impressions, musical passages one has heard, or response to world events, local news or family changes. It could be the smell of something that transports you back in time, like Proust and his madeleines. It could be the sound of a favorite sonata and the language it speaks directly to your heart. It could be the view of a mountain range, glowing with warmth before the sun sets on its peaks and valleys. It could be as simple as picking up an acorn from the leaves of fall.
The key is to listen to one’s inner responses to life as it happens and to develop personal conversations with yourself. It is these conversations which feed the creative spirit and which can become the germ of new work.