It's amazing the things you can learn when you are writing. My favorite writing group is a little band of writers at Jay's Writer's World. We talk a lot, play a little at the place we have lovingly dubbed "The Playhouse." And lately we've been throwing out some writing challenges. We're getting some insight into our own writing through these brief exercises. Nobody participates in all of them, I suppose, but when one strikes our fancies we jump right in and experience small epiphanies about ourselves...well, I do anyway. I guess I can't speak for everyone. But the exercises do offer a jump start to creative thinking and writing.
For instance, I wrote something and thought, "That would be a great challenge."
"Always a new idea brewing in the back."250 words to describe the image that came to your mind when you read that."
The responses were great. Give it a try. Then, open up the file for the Big Story that you've been working on and see if the jump start kicks you into gear.