From Inertia to Creativity

To go from inertia to creativity is one of the hardest things an artist can do. I recently did a huge editing job. Because the text was full of technical details I had to play close attention to not only standard editing practices, but the demands of the technical writing too.

After I finished, my brain felt like it had been squeezed too tight for way too long, so I took a break from all sorts of writing except for an occasional comment on the blogs I follow.

I had some major computer hardware challenges during that time which is a strange sort of a way, was a bonus. I had a legitimate reason to take a break. (kinda sad that I felt I needed to legitimise my choice, but that’s another story for another time)

So, I’m staring at the pages of my Works In Progress on their shiny new Scrivener formats, (I’ve finally become comfortable enough with the program to migrate all my major works there) and I have no idea where to begin. I have no desire to begin. Inertia or ennui, I can’t decide which, has me firmly grasped in her tastefully polished claws.

I have story ideas so jammed up inside me, they’re beginning to tempt me to try a metaphorical enema to get ‘em moving.

But I have come to a decision. I shall write a blog post, the shortest form I write in, and I think I’ll call it, ‘From Inertia to Creativity’, and I’ll start it like this, … ‘To go from inertia to creativity is one of the hardest things an artist can do …’ :D

An elegant leg extension and gratuitous tummy fur

An elegant leg extension and gratuitous tummy fur

14 comments on “From Inertia to Creativity

  1. Erin says:

    Pick a project. It doesn’t matter which one — if you get an urge to work on a different one, just switch.

    Set a low goal — a sentence, 100 words, 15 minutes. Do it every day for a week.

    See if you’re feeling the desire to write more. If so, do. If not, repeat until you do.

    And you always have permission to take a break. :)

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    • Widdershins says:

      Thanks Erin. I have a list of projects that I ‘should’ be working on. That’s the crux of my angst right there. I’m going to work on one that I’m excited about, and get to the ‘should’s’ when my energy’s flowing again.

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  2. I add a file to each project labeled ‘Journal.’ I use it to dump any and all thoughts about the project – just so I can search through them later – and don’t lose them meanwhile.

    I also DATE every single entry (SHFT-CTRL-CMD-d), so that I can put multiple things in a chronological order if necessary – it gets fairly automatic to start each entry with a date.

    IF I then transfer something from the Journal file to another file, AFTER I copy the bit, I label it an Inline Annotation (SHFT-CMD-a) so I know I already copied it out of the Journal file.

    These things get automatic.

    Don’t force yourself to tackle a new project or and old one until you’re ready – but provide yourself somewhere searchable to store your musings on it.

    This has helped me not lose things, store stuff, use it later.

    When I take a nap (up to six a day, I’m afraid), I keep a notebook by the bed. If a thought comes I don’t want to lose, I scribble it in the notebook, and go back to resting. When I’m up, I always take a quick minute or two to type it into the project Journal (or whatever) where it belongs – then I trash the notebook page, or put a checkmark on it. Now I don’t lose those nice random thoughts the subconscious sends up when my eyes are closed.

    Many a time this last thing has coughed up the answer to a problem – as soon as I stop trying so hard to solve it logically, it solves itself organically.

    If you set up systems – and with Scrivener it’s so easy because you can have as many files as you want, and you can have two main ones open in the editor, and you can float as many Quick Reference panels/files as you want – then you use them. If you don’t, you lose stuff.

    Scrivener rocks. But it takes a while to learn all the features.

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    • Widdershins says:

      … and I’m still so attached to Word. I catch myself automatically opening up a Word doc to start something new, and I have a chuckle with myself, because the first thing I think is that it would be so much easier in Scriv! One of my favourite (and most used at the moment) Scriv commands is ‘import’

      Yeah, I have notebooks everywhere too. My struggle right now isn’t not having ideas, it’s getting down and just writing. I’m thinking of duct-taping my butt to my chair!

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    • Widdershins says:

      P.S. Thanks for the shortcuts :D

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  3. Very clever–the beginning and ending of your post. It makes me think of seeing a mirror within a mirror within a mirror within a . . . . My brain had been screwed so tightly writing career books for a lot of years that it revolted. It also didn’t help that menopause had a lovely time screwing up my short-term memory. I would spend what seemed like endless time trying to come up with precise words. I’m only starting to find my way back on a path. That daily blogging challenge in April really helped me.

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  4. jannatwrites says:

    Metaphorical enema – that could get messy :) I hope you can get things going (yep, this post is a start.) I’m sure one of your in-processes will grab your attention again… I think sometimes when we get away from it, we forget how excited we were about the idea in the first place.

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  5. Olga Godim says:

    I know what you mean. I’m a journalist and I always need at least a couple of days to switch my brain from writing articles to writing fiction. It’s inertia but not in the sense of laziness. It’s more that our brains needs time to switch gears. Don’t be upset about it.
    And I agree with Erin about low goals. Three sentences is my usual goal. The funny think is, once you start, you usually go way beyond that goal.

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    • Widdershins says:

      It was the biggest, most comprehensive editing job I’ve done to date, and after I’d finished my brain actually craved something complex to process … kinda scary for a few moments there.

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  6. Written straight to my heart, Widdershins! First that translation that went on for so long, sucking my brain dry, and then, just as I was starting to get back into a regular writing routine, Jay’s death … I’m definitely in a state of inertia now, I’m afraid.

    Just hoping small goals will get me out of it again.

    Good luck getting out of yours!

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    • Widdershins says:

      Summer finally kicking in hasn’t helped either. I’m not a summer person. Here on our little island the humidity is atrocious, and so are the mozzies!

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