I get ideas from movies, books, and dreams. Sometimes I see people on the street and think ‘that would make a good character’. Sometimes I read news story’s, although not very often, as I find most news upsetting. But many of my best story ideas have actually come from dreams I’ve had and remembered.
Really after awhile you are always writing. Even when you aren’t at the keyboard typing, you are planning out scenes in your head or working out phrasing. I’m to the point that I always wonder if anything I see can be used in a story, especially human behavior.
Having ideas is only half the battle of course, writing them down and manipulating them into a recognizable story is the next hurdle. It helps not at all to have story ideas if you forget them, so I write everything down, and file it. That way I can use it.
My first short play was called “On Company Time”. I had the idea for the title before anything else. I thought of it one morning, rolled over and scribbled it down on a scrap of paper I had lying next to my bed. That scrap sat there for several months before I finally thought of the story that went with it. Once I thought of the story I spent several weeks writing it. It ended up being thirty pages, which was the longest thing I’d ever written at that point.
More recently I’ve been writing an entire novel based in part on some dreams that I had and wrote down. The story now hardly resembles the dream but, I would be story-less if I hadn’t made the effort that morning I woke up after having it.