Writing and life are as inseparable as action and inertia!
I had to overcome inertia to get up this morning. Inertia is rather like the man in a burning building who wants so badly to get out, he claws at the walls with his fingers, hoping to break through. This is a heightened inertia, but it may well be instructive for all of us.
SUFFERING FROM THE DRAG OF FRICTION
Like all writers we struggle with the very thing we love: writing. Like most writers I am susceptible to advice which purports to tell me how I can overcome the issues that keep me from becoming a successful published writer. Like many writers, I suffer from sometimes paralyzing self-doubt that whispers sad tales of disillusionment in my ear, thwarting any and all inertia: you are not good enough; you don’t have enough to say… I’m certain you know the litany! The one failing that puts in the ranks of failed writers is inertia – or the lack there of.
This morning, driving to the fitness center for my Monday morning lap-swim, I felt particularly tired. Bed had been far to inviting and comfortable in its cozy warmth and darkness. I went on anyway. There was that little voice of my physician telling me exercise was necessary to control my weight and bad cholesterol. With a stroke in my past, and in my genes, I don’t need anyone to knock twice on my door!
FRICTION IS A HURDLE TO BE JUMPED
Normally I swim sixty laps, which is a little over a half-mile. I normally swam a mile until about a year ago when I developed knee problems. I’m self-rehabilitating and pushed myself to seventy laps. It felt good. I’m trying to push myself back to 80 laps by the end of the summer, back to a mile by Thanksgiving. This will be the inertia I need to go further. After swimming, I do knee bends, or squats in the hot-tub to work on strength in that knee. The buoyancy in the tub removes some weight and allows me to exercise the knee safely. I also take a spin class twice a week for further lower body work.
WHAT DO I REALLY WANT, AND WHAT AM I WILLING TO DO TO GET IT?
Pushing myself to seventy laps this morning gave me an epiphany of sorts regarding life, writing, and inertia. I noted last week in my post of the only three tips a writer really needed. Briefly, (and this is courtesy Lou Saban!) those tips were: 1. what do you really want? 2. What are you willing to do to get it? 3. How do you respond when confronted by the inevitable roadblock? Number three carries the weight of my topic this morning covering inertia.
Nothing more needs to be said! When I pushed to seventy laps this morning, it occurred to me that this applies to life in general; there is no separation between our writing life and life – the same inertia or lack of inertia colors, highlights, and shadows all we do. My real life feeds my writing life – vice versa; and, if that real life is disorganized, chaotic, frustrated, bewitched, bothered, not to mention bewildered, than the rest of me is also. That includes by writing. If I can push myself to go a little further in my workout, that provides inertia for the rest of my life – including my writing. It matters not where inertia comes from, I suppose, just that it’s there and pushing forward. Inertia is a powerful tool, a powerful writing tool as well.
TIPS, SMISHPS! IT’S ABOUT YOU!
If I may be so bold as to use a much battered and used idiomatic expression: If it is to be; it’s up to me. Only I can counter inertia. It’s instructive to realize that most enumerated problems are easily remedied by reversing the problems. Often, that doesn’t happen because 1. That’s not really the problem, or 2. we really don’t want to fix the problem for whatever reason the subconscious deems reasonable.
STORY-TELLING IS INNATE; ACTION… THERE’S THE RUB!
So, my friends, get it all together, and the writing will follow suit. Story-telling is innate, the tips may be be illuminating, but ultimately it is a matter of personal ambition and willpower, not how many books you’ve read, or experiences you’ve had. We are what we want to be – really want to be. Only the true want will cause us to act. If you really want to get out of the burning house, you will; or die clawing the walls with your fingernails to breakthrough the wall! Figuratively speaking, there are probably those when confronted with he burning house will whine, cuss, shout, all the while pushing marshmallows onto their fingers. They don’t really want to get out… They’re not willing to act.