There's always that moment when you realize what it's going to be. You might have an overarching theme and you need to fill in the blanks - and then there's this "Aha" moment when you see where it's going. That's the most satisfying part of writing.
I remember reading 'The Grapes of Wrath' in high school in 1983. My family had immigrated to the U.S. three years before, and I had spent the better part of the first two years learning English. John Steinbeck's book was the first book I read in English where I had an 'Aha!' moment, namely in the famed turtle chapter.
Kids still like to laugh, kids still like the joy of learning. When you have a cool science experiment, I don't care where you're from. When you have that aha moment, whether you're in China or Kenya, that kid's eyes are gonna open up. So I really try to focus more on what we have in common than what differs us.
I live in the land of delight - of just walking in the street, and the sun is shining, and I'm on my way to Starbucks and I'm feeling good. I also live for those aha! moments when you understand something new, when you see two things fitting together to make a surprising third. There's actually a chemical that's produced in the brain by learning that gives you that little ecstatic moment of, Oh, that's why.
I really do think inspiration comes from day-to-day life. I think there's things that pique our interest - not necessarily aha! moments - but things that just kinda make you raise your eyebrows. And those are often the moments that are the seeds of inspiration. Sometimes they're in a great conversation with friends, sometimes they're things you see live, something you read, a movie trailer you watch... I think inspiration is kind of laid out there. One thing we have to practice is recognizing when it happens, and recording that moment so we can come back to it.
There's a much deeper knowing and deeper intelligence in this place. This is where I began the journey of listening to that inner wisdom. We've all had those aha moments. In yoga it's called prajna - a flash of illumination. I heard that voice.