These are some things that have been rolling around in my noggin. Just advice and questions that I think need to be put out there. Hopefully someone will get something from it. A tip: don't read this post any further if you're in a funk. It's meant to be analytical, not emotional. So if you're having one of those "I suck" bouts that comes to all creative types, go no further. There. You were warned.
A few words of advice from someone who has been there....lots. Ask questions. Consider. Read. Talk to people. Study. Learn it. Draw comparisons. Refute it. History and future and the bits in between. Gains and repercussions and their makings. Don't be afraid. You must understand what you're doing, or attempting to do. Or what you're not doing that you should be doing. Or what you're trying to undo.
To answer that last bit you need to ask yourself, what is your goal? Why? Where are you getting stuck? What are the pitfalls? But before you get all blue and dramatic, stop and think, what have you got to lose? Are you in this alone? Do you have a partner, guide, mentor, audience? Again, don't get all down in the dumps if you do feel "in it alone". That's a big part of why I blog and put myself and my stuff out there - so people have somewhere to go and someone to relate to. For me it helps a lot just to have a forum for the swirling ideas.
Inspiration can be tricky. Sometimes it's a needle in a haystack and sometimes you get really lucky and it's hay in a haystack. Think about what inspires you and why. What about it do you find so interesting? How would you explain it to someone else? For me it helps to "reverse engineer" inspiration. If you are drawing from another someone's work, (I love Deviantart, Elfwood, and other blogs - as you can see from my long list to the right) try to see how the original creator went about it. Why did they use certain colors or words? Why is the figure posed/attired in such a way? Is it made or is it natural?
Think of an old stone bridge connecting two forest roads? Where is this? Who built it? How? This is just one connection on what could be a very long road. Where did it begin? Where does it end? Does it have defined beginnings and endings? What if there's a fork in the road? Is there a signpost to tell you what lies in each direction, or do you just hazard a guess or flip a coin? Put yourself there. What do you hear, see, smell, feel? Why are you a traveler on this path? And we're back to, are you alone or is there someone with you? Did you leave something/someone behind? What are you seeking? Do you have a purpose or are you just an aimless wanderer? If you want to get really specific, think of what you're wearing and carrying? Why do you have/need these things? Where did they come from? Do you make them or buy them? Are you a lowly merchant selling wares from your cart, or are you a wealthy noble or an investor seeking a market to expand your holdings?
In short, what is the process for worldbuilding? There is no one particular answer. Mine is a rather Socratic process where one wondering flows into another. What's your process? Maybe you don't have one. Maybe you should consider getting one.
Does anyone else care to share?