Do you believe in artistic muses?
My novels don't magically appear in my psyche (wouldn't that be efficient?), but ideas and images do. Sometimes dialogue for characters will start playing out like a movie in my head, and I will try to quickly capture it on paper.
Poetry is where I have the most success with my muse collaborations. The first lines of a poem or even an entire first stanza will make itself known to be by repeating in my internal notebook over and over until I finally write it down. There really is a muse, (or muses) I believe, who kind of nudges me and insists that I write something. That is why I never procrastinate with poetry. Novel writing yes. I will clean the entire house or reorganize my CD collection before sitting down to write a new chapter. It's annoying, but it takes care of my To Do list.
As an example, last night the words "I choose you" and "the enchantment is complete" kept appearing for me. I ended up writing an entire poem with those lines as the starting point. It is based on a painting by RC Gorman. As soon as I do my final edits, I'll include that poem in a later posting to this blog. Who knows? This could be the start of another poetry collection. It is always a surprise to me how my writing projects begin. I start small with an interest in a theme or genre, and then 25 poems later there is a real work there taking form. It's all organic - the process. That is what is so exciting to me - not knowing where the story will end, but enjoying the creative journey. Bite-sized pieces of inspiration are less intimidating too!