The reason I list inspiration as a step in the writing process is that, as a much younger person many decades ago, all of my stories came and went through the same thing: my ego. So now I try to pay attention more to the ways people do things. I’m not saying you should watch every sci-fi film or read every sci-fi book before you write your own sci-fi story. But it’s important to pay attention to how the real world works in order to find wisdom and little jewels others might miss.
One example of this was a bird I saw at work once, maybe three years ago. It might have been a robin or a starling. There’s this corner of the building where the black windows make a nook on the north side, about halfway from center to the east side of the building. You can see inside the building there, but I can understand how a bird could get confused. It started trying to fly into the window. Why it wanted to visit Cubeland, I don’t know. But it kept flying into this window, maybe five times before it flew back away from the building.
This scene is going into one of my future novels because it got me thinking about how human beings do the same stupid stuff over and over, hoping the results will change one day. They tend not to change. Flying into a window generally will not get you where you want to go, especially if you’re a bird.
So I watch and listen, and allow things to inspire me as I write. I don’t know everything. Don’t tell my wife I said that.