I used to constantly take notes for short story fodder. Snippets of conversations, the way smells smelled and sounds sounded, what other people were wearing. In the back of my notebooks, I kept lists of words that I liked the texture of: nouns (periscope, squash blossoms, lagoon), verbs (sashay, mushroom, nuzzle), colors (cerulean, bone, lilac)... you know, those sorts of things. And out of those notes often came inspiration for writing fiction.
So I'm trying to get back into the habit. Writing fiction will never be effortless for me – in reality, it's a constant battle. But having these notebooks is like wielding a slightly sharper sword.
(Pocket notebooks from Rifle Paper Co.)