Overcoming Mental Inertia


It isn’t a lack of ideas that keeps me from creativity. Are you with me?  Scraps on my desk, stuck in books, piles of ideas. When I sit down to write, or create art, there are amazing moments where creativity blazes wildly and I can hardly maintain the necessary speed to keep up with my brain. I crave these experiences.

And then there is today. Days where you don’t feel your best, or are distracted. Where you see the piles and they feel like pressure instead of joy. Guilt instead of freedom. The piles look exactly like what they are, paper. Not magic waiting to happen.

Mental inertia rules my roost. Defined well as “disinclination to move or act”.

How to overcome this? Pick one thing.

Here are a few tips to jumpstart the writing mind:

Start with the recent– Dwelling too broadly can swamp us in murky indecision. Start with today, yesterday. Put those dusty 5 w’s to work. What did you see that stuck with you? Why? Give me a Where? Who is involved?

Pull out a photo–  The reason I take so many pictures is to remind me of the details of life. Browse through a stack of photos and stop at the one. You’ll know it. Now is the time to dwell and ponder, what feelings does the scene evoke? Write it down.

Pick one random note–  Get out a note pad and jot anything that comes to mind. I find that just rewriting my note by hand, again, often sparks back the original idea. If the time has passed, toss it. More ideas will come, they really will.

Read words out of context-  This one can be a lot of fun. I tear old book pages out for other projects. Sometimes I will read through them, looking for interesting phrases. Use those phrases to kick off your own take.

To paraphrase a popular TV holiday song, “Just put one word in front of the otherrrrrrr, and soon you’ll be writing…” Um, maybe that didn’t work out as planned. But here I am, putting one word down at a time. Creating forward motion, thereby breaking the hold of that inertia.

Creativity is not always natural. There are highs and lows. On the lows, even if it feels like verbal babble, write it down. Rework it later. It doesn’t need to be shared until it is polished, but you’ll have a start. One word turns into a finished piece.

So as a true partner in this venture, I offer you my verbal babble. Words normally left before my blinking cursor to come back to. Today, here they are to encourage you. Can you start with your one thing today?


About christasterken

Committed to a life of purpose. Learning to live abundantly. Embracing creativity. Questioning. Delighting in the comforts of home and family. Determining not to settle only for how things are, but how they could be. Writing is part of who I am, so I trust In God who gave the gift to show me how I can serve Him through it. That is my life…one word at a time. Psalm 89:11a“Teach me your way , O Lord, and I will walk in your truth”

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