Travel back to high school physics. Can you recall the definition of inertia? A body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
You witness the rule every day in many ways. If it weren’t for friction and gravity, your car would keep rolling indefinitely after taking your foot off the gas unless you applied the brakes. That golf ball will sit on the tee forever unless you swing your club (and don’t miss). Just getting out of bed in the morning requires you to overcome inertia (not to mention abandoning the sheer pleasure of snuggling under warm blankets when the surrounding room is cold).
The same rule applies to writing.
The last time I wrote, I bemoaned the long period I’ve gone without writing. Yes, I had lots of reasonably valid reasons. But there was also the effect of inertia. Getting back to active writing required dredging up energy in a form I haven’t used in several months. Mental energy – specifically, creative energy.
I was overwhelmed by the thought of starting work on Transition again, after not touching it for so long. I knew it would be hard to pick up the story where I left off. I knew I’d have to go back and, essentially, re-read and edit everything I’d written up to the point when I packed the manuscript into a box in preparation for our move. It seemed like so much work, and it scared me – not the work, but rather the possibility that after all this time I’d find the story lacking, that I wouldn’t be as excited as I was when I started it.
So I started off slowly, re-reading and revising the synopsis, on my way back to the full manuscript. And what do you know? I got excited about the story line all over again! I made major revisions to the synopsis (and therefore the planned trajectory of the story). I recognized that trying to cram a whole century into one book would mean short-changing the story, so I broke the synopsis into three parts. And got more excited. I moved on to what would be book 1 of a trilogy and my heart raced as I read the first chapter. Who wrote this? I thought! Well, what do you know, it was me!
My momentum grew. I moved on to chapter two and found myself immersed in young love. I saw what the main character saw in her beloved and felt what she felt. I rolled on to chapter 3, and felt more of the same. All the way along I was making modifications, not because I didn’t like what I read but because, having taken a break from it, I saw ways it could be even better.
I still had time constraints, so I couldn’t do it all in one sitting (127 pages). But I was rolling, and other than time, there were no outside forces acting upon me to make me stop! I remembered why I write – because I love it – and remembered how I managed to fit writing into my life before our move and before all the house issues we’ve come through. I just did it. And once I sat down and started, inertia and the pleasure that writing brings to me kept me going. Each time I had to stop, I couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to pick it up. And each time I started, it was easier to get going and took more to bring me to a halt – like the force needed to stop a fully loaded freight train as opposed to the force needed to halt a leisurely walk.
It told me I have to write to find time to write, to make time to write. I have to remember that if I overcome the inertia of inactivity, I can embrace the more satisfying inertia that comes with moving forward with pouring words onto the page.
Inertia at rest might be challenging to get past, but the inertia of stories flowing from your mind and into fingers that fly over the keys – that inertia definitely is the writer’s friend.
While I’m working on Transition, if you haven’t already read Autumn Colors or In Her Mother’s Shoes, I invite you to check them out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or through the Apple Store. If you have read either or both and liked them, a review on any of the book sites would be appreciated!