I've been playing Magic the Gathering for years now. And last night, I got to play a draft with the latest set to be release, Unstable. Unstable is part of a series of joke sets released for the card game, but unlike previous attempts, they have made a legitimately fun draft environment for this set. It brings to mind one of my favorite ways of getting myself to think creatively, which is to tell jokes. They don't have to be good jokes, but the act of thinking in the way that jokes make us think, gets our brains going into the kind of thought processes required to be creative.
I often like to tell jokes or joke around when I'm trying to brainstorm a new level design. Sometimes I'll even design a level that is ridiculous to try to execute. Because in doing the joke. In allowing for the crazy, you end up creating heuristics that you can use on the sane creative thing you are going after.
Some people fail to understand why I work the way I do. I've learned to game myself. If I start feeling low I work out. If I can't think of solutions, I put it on the back burner and joke around. I ask myself out loud the question. I try to explain things in as simple a way as possible to my desktop figurines.
So whenever you find yourself stuck, just remember to tell a joke. It doesn't even have to be funny. For example, when I started this post the title was "Only to use the word Alabaster". I typed it without thinking. And it reminded me of the magic card: Angel of Flight Alabaster. From there I thought of the game I had last night, and well... the rest you just read.