Whenever I'm feeling particularly uncreative (which can be often, regrettably) I amuse myself by thinking of the Tenacious D short film where they are tasked with (gasp) having to write a new song. (This featured one of my all-time favorite D songs, "Rocket Sauce" which Jack Black horrifying realizes is sung to the ice-cream truck tune.)
But inspiration is a bitch. Whether you are a writer, painter, designer or someone wanting to spice up whatever it is you do, it is elusive far more than it should be.
On a totally related note, Signal vs. Noise is a remarkable site, based mostly on web design but much more than that. Whoever the folks are at this site understand what works and what doesn't, and years ago I used one of their suggestions for what an online banking experience should be like to help me design a project.
They recently posted something called Finding fresh inspiration, and talk about some of their suggestions for what to do when it doesn't come instinctively. The worst thing to do, they suggest accurately, is to look at what other people you admire are doing and follow in their footsteps. In this, you will become the equivalent of a cover band instead of an artist with a unique voice. Instead, here are a few of their suggestions:
Look to the past
Looking to the past is a great way to get outside the current zeitgeist. Not sure where to start? Trace a path backwards. Find out who influences peers that you admire. If you like Jim Coudal’s designs, then check out Joseph Muller-Brockmann. If you admire Jonathan Ive, then check out Dieter Rams. Or, to give a musical example, if you like the way Jack White plays guitar then check out Jimmy Page. Then once you soak that up, check out Link Wray, a big influence on Page. The more you dig, the more likely you are to find fresh soil.
Look to a different medium
Bennett’s tale of getting inspiration from an instrument instead of a voice is a great example of this. Some others:
A design student once asked Michael Bierut for any advice he had for them. He answered, “To have other interests than design.”
There's more but I can't crib the entire thing. Go check it out, and bookmark the site. It's always good.