Newton’s First Law


Last night Soup King was reading a scene I’d edited. At the end he requested to read the next one, but I hadn’t edited that one yet. I let him read it in it’s bare bones, rough draft ickiness, explaining that the last few scenes in the story were not as well fleshed out. “I lost momentum.”

“Why?”

I replied eloquently, “Uh….I just did.”

It was late and I was tired.

I love writing very much, so why do the creative fires fizzle and die from time to time? I pondered his question as I pumped scintillation fluid into vials. This task requires very little in the way of brain power and minimal attention to detail, so naturally my brain meandered to other things. Newton’s first Law popped into my head.

“Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.”

-Sir Isaac Newton

Neither objects or people exist in a vacuum of nothingness (technically, space is not nothingness, and we don’t live in outerspace).

The same way those last few meters in a race seem impossible, or the ball rolled up the hill slows until stopping and rolling right back down again, or a Frisbee thrown into the air slows and falls to the ground, a writer struggles to maintain momentum against outside forces.  Last year, when I sat down to write the last couple of chapters, I started with only a small amount of momentum. School and life had my by the throat, so-to-speak, but it was nearly done and I’d finally figured out the ending, so I buckled down and wrote it. I knew it needed more, but that’s what edits are for after all. I needed to accomplish something in order to restart my writing momentum. Sounds almost contradictory, doesn’t it? Think about it in terms of potential and kinetic energy. The feeling of accomplishment I received when I at last typed, “THE END”, fueled an adrenaline high, which sparked the stirrings of creative potential energy. I then used that potential energy to work on another writing project.

Once in awhile I require a certain amount of resting momentum to allow the creative neurons some rest. Then one day an idea sparks and “Bam!” I’m off running again.

We all have outside forces acting on us: work, school, family, health, money concerns, other obligations.

The definition of a writer is not someone who is published, but someone who writes. A writer feels passionate enough about the stories he or she wishes to tell and uses that passion to fuel momentum. While I use a cyclical internal reward method, which is infused with extra energy by the support of family and friends, that method may not work for everyone. Perhaps you reward yourself with something if you write X # of words, or set a timer and write for five minutes, or attend a writer’s group or workshop to learn new skills. If it works, then it is a valid method.

If you like, feel free to comment and share how you fly over those hurdles of outside forces.

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One response to “Newton’s First Law

  1. I write until I fizzle and then stop for the night. I never push my creative energy beyond its limit because I focus more on quality than quantity, and I don’t want to burn out what little energy is left after fulfilling all of my other obligations. When I was a “young” writer as an undergrad and just after, I had a seemingly endless fountain of creative energy. I could write 10+ pages a day every day. Now, I simply don’t have that kind of creative stamina, so I make every effort to protect and nurture what I do have. I may not be a prolific as some, but I do feel like the quality of what I produce is solid.

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