Any kind of musician knows this basic truth : Idea's come without warning, at any time.
With this basic idea in mind, it's useful to think about how you can prepare a 'space' where your ideas have the room to grow.
As a musician, you'll no doubt know that most recordings these days are done on computers, in studio's, usually owned either by professional recording studios, or people on their own home studio setups.
This site and it's author prefer the latter to the former, so we'll be focussing on how to setup a home studio that's ready when your muse comes forth.
Dedicate Some Space Man
The first thing we've noticed, is that you really need a dedicated space to setup all your gear. Sure, you can record a album in your bedroom, but things are pretty cramped and you'll probably need to pack up your kit at some stage to make room for living. So, if you can, find yourself a seperate room in the house, or even better, a bungalow out the back, or fit out your garage. The quality of space isn't as important as the principle that it's isolated, and used for once function only : to create music.
Room To Move
The second thing we've found when setting up a dedicated space, is that you want enough room to move around. Music isn't a stationary, anchored concept, and neither should you be when you're making it. Try and spread your setup around the walls of your space, so you and any musical collaborators you're working with can move around. Get some chairs on wheels, so seating is moveable, and position microphones, guitar amps, and MAC or PC based recording setups to the side walls, so you have space to perform.
Lights... Camera... Action?
Lastly, and ideally before you jump in to record some great musical ideas, you want to make sure everything is setup and ready to go. If you've got a computer recording setup, make sure all the cables to guitars, keyboards, microphones etc... are all plugged in and ready to go. Make sure your DAW is configured to connect to your audio interface. Make sure your mics are hooked up, and placed on stands, ready. Test out your Midi Keyboard and make sure it's transmitting midi to the right channel.
Open up a test recording on your multi track recorder or DAW, and test everything out. Play some guitar, make sure it's recording properly. Test out your mic's (one..two... one two.. testing!) and check for noise and quality. Do this with every instrument you use to ensure that when you're ready, so is your studio.
The last thing you want to face when you have fresh, killer tune in your head is technical challenges. Tech problems in music can evaporate musical ideas faster then beers on a hot summers day, so the best thing you can do is iron out all the crinks before inspiration hits. Get all your gear working and ready, and when the time comes, all you need to do is plugin, and hit record. Too Easy!