If you get stuck on an ancestor, read a county or local history of the area. It probably won't mention your ancestor, but reading and learning something about the history of the place your ancestor lived in will at least make you more knowledgeable about the location. And it just may spark a research idea.
And if you've read the county history--read a local newspaper for a week if it's a daily and a for a month if it's a weekly. Reading the newspaper will provide a background the county history probably won't.