Part of the appeal of writing is the opportunity to write whatever you want. That’s the theory, anyway. (The drawback is that you don’t get to write however you want.) Many writers actively look for inspiration from the outside world in the form of news articles, overheard conversations, and research. But these strategies are grounded in and filtered through your personal interests, values, beliefs.
Interests → Story You write what you know and you probably know (or are working to know) a lot about what interests you. The facts and suppositions about what you learn fuel your characters, plots, and settings. By knowing your interests, you can more efficiently focus your intelligence-gathering efforts.
Values → Theme. Your values influence how you think about almost anything that catches your eye. Is it good or evil? Was the decision fair or unjust? Did she get what she deserved? All of these assessments are fodder for themes and plots.
Beliefs → Conflict. Your values are judgements made based on your beliefs. Conflict most often happens when beliefs clash.