When you're stuck in a creative rut it can be hard to dig yourself out. One way to get the job done is to alter your idea to include something that doesn't belong. Adding an atypical element can help you think in different ways. Although you may not keep that element when you're done with your project, it can be enough to give you the jump start you need.
This idea is widely applicable, but when I was reminded of it when I came across Why I Suck at Guitar — a blog and guitar learning site by music teacher Dan Vuksanovich. When he's stuck in a rut while learning the guitar, one of his suggestions is to try playing music that wasn't written for the guitar at all:
Guitar music has a certain sound to it because it's typically composed on the guitar. There are certain patterns and shapes that are very easy on the guitar, so lots of guitar music tends to centre around these patterns. It's human nature, really, and we can break out of it by playing non-guitar music. For non-guitar music I love Bach. He wrote pieces for the cello and violin, for example, that are often difficult to play on the guitar because the music doesn't cater to any of the usual fingering patterns that we're used to. That's the point, though, to get away from those comfortable patterns. Horn lines from jazz standards and vocal melodies are other examples of ways to get away from guitar music for a while.
The same advice works for most creative endeavours. If you're trying to put together a web site design, try using a style that you don't think fits at all and you might find new elements to incorporate in the final product. If you're writing a fictional story and you're stuck at a certain point, try writing that section as if it were a completely different genre. Wherever you're stuck, just alter your idea by adding something that really doesn't belong at all. It might just give you the momentum you need to break through.
5 Ways To Break Out Of A Rut [Why I Suck At Guitar]