"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic."
I've taken several workshops from Jane Sassaman, whom I adore, and I learned more than I can possibly put down on paper. One technique she demonstrated was the "Ouija Method of Designing" -- difficult to describe without an accompanying video, but I'm going to try anyway.
The idea is to create your design, make templates of the pieces you wish to appliqué, cut them out in your chosen fabrics, place them on your background on a horizontal surface according to your original layout, and then move them around as if you were moving the pointer on a Ouija board. We all got the idea immediately as soon as Jane moved her hands in a "Ouija board" sort of manner (you're picturing this now, aren't you . . . ), and we learned to let go of our original design, even if only temporarily, to see if we could discover a better one. A helpful tip is to take pictures of the different configurations along the way, so that you won't lose a brilliant discovery because it became buried after several more arrangements. One of my first attempts is pictured above.
Then we came up with this one . . .
. . . and this is how I thought it might look after I had finished cutting all the pieces. It turns out, however, that I still wasn't pleased with the layout, and I invited my good friend, Pat Spillane, to come over recently and "Ouija" with me again. The quilt is still a work in progress, and I'm learning to boldly go where I've never gone before (I must get out to see the new "Star Trek" movie soon . . .).