Look, this is what my brain does, all right? Pattern recognition, pattern creation. There was a guy wearing a funny hat on BART once, and that's why I wrote the story in question. The series of stories in question, actually. It wasn't a really ultimately strange hat with cuckoo-clock mechanisms and solar power. It was just a hat that was shaped slightly strangely and cast a slightly pointy shadow, and this is the third story in that series I've sold, and I've written a fourth, and I can promise there will be more. Because of a hat. Does this make sense? No, of course it doesn't make sense. You can't ask writers to go around making sense all the time. Inspiration is breathing. You learn to see story things the way you breathe. It's not the only way, but it's certainly one way, and then you come back and say, "Well...I read this book about Russian art...and two of the Fabergés' assistants were Swedish Finns...and now I have two books and three short stories and more on the way." Do you think I've skipped a step there? Because that's roughly how the brain worked, with "and then a miracle occurs" right smack in the middle there. And I think that's always how the writerbrain works. A big leap happens somewhere, or you never get to secret planets of predictive mathematicians in the kinda-Roman Empire or to Trollopian dragons or to aliens whose gender isn't the same for very long. Sometimes you can say something like, "Oh, I thought that it was a scorpion on the back of CJ's bathroom door, but actually it was a lobster. It was the hanging hook that made me think it was a scorpion, you see?" And then you smile as though you've said something helpful, and everyone else smiles as if you might get loose at any minute, and you try, with a wrench, to restart the conversation with no one understanding the essential step any better than they did before.
And the difficulties in writing it? This question really baffles me. I had to think of the right words and put them in the right order. Like you do. That is as hard and as easy as it ever gets.
Perhaps I am just obtuse. This is a possibility never to be neglected.