Since I write for children, my kids are deep wells of quirks and inspiration. When they ask questions such as "How did a butterfly get its name?" I write it down. When my son told me he wanted to be an astronaut and a singer when he grows up, I wrote it down. After a long day at Disneyland, my sister asked my son, "What was your favorite part?" His answer? "The fun inside my head."
Before I took writing seriously, these moments were lodged in my memory, but that's it. Now they're fodder for stories or nonfiction manuscripts. If nothing else, my notes are a sort of journal, recording this stage in their lives -- what my sons are curious about, what worries them, and what makes them laugh. No matter what, that's priceless.
Do you have a secret weapon for your writing? Sweet or quirky children? A funny grandparent? A creepy uncle? Wacky students? Do tell!