I've been reading Anathem by Neil Stephenson (awesome!), a sf novel about a world where the mathemeticians are corralled into Monasteries, and regular people live on the outside.
The concept is that over millennia the smartest people grew too powerful, so they were corralled behind walls with restrictions and limited possessions, so they couldn't gain too much power or cause too much trouble. But they could still do math.
When someone in the novel figures something new out, Stephenson uses the term "upsight" instead of "insight". As in, "I just had an upsight why donuts taste better than muffins." Etc.
I love this so much.
Instead of looking inwards for new ideas, we look upwards and out of ourselves — and so acknowledge that inspiration comes from a place that we can't really identify as part of ourselves.
Most of us go through life assuming that "finding" new ideas are just a function of revealing what's already there. Think about it: all scientific discovery is based on the concept that we're exploring and revealing the pre-existing conditions of the world. In a way, there's nothing we can do about what exists, and how things work. We're reduced from creators to researchers.
But anybody who has ever worked creatively knows that our "upsights" arrive from a place that we can't really nail down. That's why listening to creative people speak publicly often comes off as awkward (because they can't really explain their creative process) or bullshit (because when they do they either sound grandiose, or they reduce the creative process to a method which produces predicable, and therefore non-creative, results).
Creativity relies on the unpredictable. It's a mystery.
We can work hard and set the conditions that we know are most likely to lead us to creative results (@kseniaanske has posted great thoughts on the writer's method). But we can't predict the outcome, and as such, when we create we are not just revealing what already exists, but making (out of nothing we can pin down) what previously didn't.