Rewriting the Law of Inertia

In the beginning, there was Inertia: the tendency of a writer's pace to resist acceleration, the tendency of a writer at rest to lie around reading, vegging to music, or watching reruns of The Dog Whisperer on TV, or to keep moving along the straight line of same well-worn rut as usual. At least until acted upon by an outside force.

In some cases, that outside force might be an agent's request, an editor's call for revisions, or a looming deadline. In others, it might be the state of the writer's bank account and a mailbox full of "Last Notices" in red print.

But all too often, we have only an inside force to rely upon to get us moving, the writer's own Call to Adventure. Certainly, it was that intrinsic dream, rather than coercion or any likelihood of reward, that got us writing in the first place. As the stories we imagined became richer and more detailed, we envisioned a future where we could share our creative universe and allow others to enjoy it, where daydreaming would become communication, a bonding rather than an isolating force.

Gradually, the dream became so powerful that we could not help but pursue it. Vigorously, tirelessly, with zero guarantee (and much evidence against) its ever coming to fruition.

For 2010, I want to breathe fresh life into that old dream, to motivate myself with passion rather than lying around waiting for some outside force to prompt me. I want to rewrite the law of inertia with my own law of inspiration.

Do you still remember your original dream, the one that took you from dilettante to writer? Do you still have it in you to be moved by hope again?


If you haven't read it, check out Ann Patchett's excellent "Resolved: Writing Is a Job" article in the Washington Post. I'm going to try her "writing everyday for at least one hour for the first 32 days of 2010" strategy. Will let you know if it starts my year out right.

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