Music has always inspired me, as has other methods.
My dad liked classical music, and while riding in the car with him, or listening at home, my brain would conjure images of a storyline. I was bored one afternoon and put on his favorite mix tape. Soon I was acting out a trial; being a conductor (2001 Space Odyssey); acting out the lyrics to One Tin Soldier and Those Were The Days. In fact, several weeks later, I wrote my first story based on the song One Tin Soldier and my creative writing teacher enjoyed it, although she told me if I was going to write fiction, to be careful about using actual people (I'd had the stone guarded by several prominent sports figures, plus our own Jr. High football teams!).
As I began my writing career, I'd put the kids down for naps, turn on Hooked On Classics, and write for two hours. I'd go to the laundromat, play the juke box, and write while my clothes spun around in the washers and dryers.
I've written to Prince, Madonna, Aqua, Bon Jovi, and Frank Sinatra. This drives my husband crazy, because he'd rather watch TV. So I've learned to write during hunting shows, Discovery Channel, and even SyFy and History channels. And when my toddler was growing up, I wrote to the sounds of Nick Jr...Wonder Pets, Dora, Diego, and Backyardigans.
While watching the Olympics this past winter, the eventual Ice Dancing winners wowed me with their original dance routine, and I envisioned a love story. I've kept it on my DVR, much to the family's disgust. But until I'm ready to write that story (characters are still only whispering snippets in my ear), it will remain. Yeah, I know; I could probably find it on YouTube....
I've also listened to news briefs on the radio and had characters jump into my head (Wild At Heart is a perfect example). I've been out in the community and certain situations will send the brain spinning (like the time I discovered I was being flirted with at a store) or I'll overhear a conversation and the creative wheels will take off.
My latest endeavor was simply brain storming with others, and a suggestion from a reader. Sometimes many elements will come together to inspire the muse to insist I sit down and write.
What kick-starts your muse? Mine's been on an extended vacation, but showing signs of returning to work soon.