I found this bit of old footage where Rod Serling, screenwriter, novelist, television producer, known for The Twilight Zone, answers the perennial question of where ideas come from. He summarises:
… the easiest thing on Earth is to come up with an idea… the hardest thing on Earth is to put it down.
Sometimes I’m amazed that this question gets asked so much. It’s one of the old clichés that writers talk about over the years, yet again and again, the question pops up in conversation. Few authors are really able to give an answer other than a shrug, which is perhaps telling. Serling’s response, generally vague and apparently nonsensical, is as decent as any that can be given.
I think if writers out there are struggling to come up with ideas – or struggling to understand where ideas may come from – then writing probably isn’t going to be a good way to earn a living. Ideas are the easy bit, as Serling says. Nearly everyone I meet has an idea for a book. It seems to be the writing it down part where people slip up.