If my intuition doesn’t give me an answer [to the question how to get past a creative obstacle], I have a little exercise: What’s the theme in a word or two? In The Conversation, it was privacy. In The Godfather, it was succession. If you have that word, then when you reach an impasse, you say, “Well, what does the theme tell me?” And usually that will suggest to you which way to go and break the roadblock.
Francis Ford Coppola, interviewed by Allison Beard for Harvard Business Review