I’m not sure if this is common to most creative writers or if it’s only a select (deranged??) few of us. For me it may be related to ADD as visual thought is an accepted trait that follows the condition, a condition I both love (for the creativity it engenders) & hate (because it makes me struggle to focus & organize things in my life).
Anyway it’s a part of who I am, so I accept it & move on.
Because I tend to think visually I find pictures & photographs etc. a powerful source of inspiration for stories. When I see an evocative image I imagine myself inside the place or event, observing & talking to the participants. This will often trigger a story idea, it’s as if the picture tells the story to me. Maybe that makes me a likely candidate for a straight jacket & a padded room but I can live with that. I embrace my insanity!!
To make it easier for me to find ideas I started keeping a scrapbook a few years ago. I cut out & collect any image that stirs something within me from newspapers, magazines etc. When I’m stuck for an idea I page through the book & stare at whichever picture catches my eye. It may seem like a pointless pursuit but it works for me & it beats watching 99% of what’s on TV!!
The other way I use my scrapbook is by collecting pictures of body parts (no, not that kind perve!!!!). I have whole pages dedicated to eyes, lips, hands etc. Sometimes it really helps to describe a character’s features while looking at pictures of actual peoples features. Sometimes it just creates a character that looks like something Picasso would have come up with while stoned but hey, you win some you lose some…..
Give it a try, you may find it helps & its fun anyway.