Any writer will tell you the same thing: writing’s all about stealing from other writers. Not to say that you should plagiarize other people’s works, but all your ideas, characters, settings, themes, writing styles, and so on probably came to you from something you read or saw or heard somewhere. That’s where the importance of always reading and absorbing information comes into play, as that feeds directly into your own writing. You may think you’re being clever and original, but most likely somebody already did the same thing before. But that’s okay! Writing is all about taking those things that have been done before and mixing them together and writing with enough skill that your readers are still entertained. That’s the trick, it all comes down to how well you mix and how well you write.
For me, inspiration comes in all forms. I’ve written an entire novel based around a minor plotline of an episode of a TV series. I saw something that interested me and I decided that I wanted to expand that little nugget into an entire self-contained story. And that’s exactly what I did. Another time, I watched some British TV mysteries and decided to write my own British-style mystery. The result was Murder at the End of the World and it was one of the more enjoyable stories I’ve written. It’s best to keep a log of some kind for all these ideas that come to you. Sometimes it may just be a short little story summary/setup or maybe it’s a genre or could it even be the name for a story. I have an entire folder on my computer that’s just for random book titles that don’t even have stories or characters. Words came together in my mind and I liked the way they sounded, so I kept them for use later.
So don’t be afraid to borrow a theme, a character type, a writing style, a setting, a phrase, or an idea. That’s what inspiration is all about.