The much-quoted phrase, "Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" is pretty accurate. The journey from inspiration to finished piece can be a long - a very long - one. However, for me, inspiration comes from places and from historical events. Stumble upon a small snippet of a story while researching something else and it nags at you until you deal with it. My latest, recently-completed novel, started like that when I found a few lines in an old chronicle about an intriguing true story. The idea that won't leave me alone is the one I've got to write. Everything else goes on the back burner until I've done it.