I get inspired by many different things. The inspiration for Ink came from my son's tattoo; my new WIP was inspired by the sight of a scar, and yesterday, while walking my dog, the sight of dead foliage provided a poem. This, on top of a short story born from the sight of my own hair earlier in the day. Yes, my muse works in odd ways.
All of my novel ideas have started as what-ifs, then the words take over. My short stories and poems just sort of spring forth like water from a faucet. What I feel to be my very best short story was written in one afternoon, edited later that day, sent out that same night, and oddly enough, it was the first one accepted for publication. The main character in that story is going to have his own novel eventually (I feel it floating around in my head like a wisp of smoke), but not until the current WIP is done.
Speaking of novels, I never outline or plan anything out. I usually have an idea of the ending, but it's not set in stone. I prefer to just let it happen. My characters often surprise and frustrate me, but I don't fight them. It's their story, after all. I'm just the messenger.