Sometimes I play the piano to come up with an aspect of music that I want to develop. Often it's a good idea to step away from the piano however, to get fresh ideas and to avoid the tendency fingers have of favouring particular uninspiring patterns or clichés. When I improvise on the violin, the patterns my fingers produce (being less chordal and more thematic) often have greater success in producing a fragment of music that inspires me to write more. When this happens, it's like a missing piece of jigsaw is found and something falls into place. I know it when I hear it, this is what I want. It's often hard to find this "spark of inspiration" but when it happens, the compositional process changes. I am no longer blocked or struggling with the fear and weight of the unknown. A new energy takes over and I now feel a sense of urgency to get the music on paper before it disappears.