The Impatient Inertia





Inertia - the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion; this includes changes to its speed, direction, or state of rest. It is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant velocity (via Wikipedia). 

I’ll admit that patience is not one of my finer qualities, which is not a good thing when you’re seeking to get published. But you can (and I have) adapt to the trodding pace of this industry if the end goal means that much to you. What I struggle with…mightily…is the lack of continuity, consistency, and the feeling of a sustained momentum within my own world. I’ve posted about it several times here, but only recently have I come to grip (to some degree) with the fact that I’ll continually be faced with these disruptions and need to adapt my tactics.  

I’ve always done my best work when totally absorbed in the process, but it’s impossible to sustain that level of involvement with the demands of my real job and our active family. Consequently, most of my writing is done on the weekend. To enhance and prolong my productive periods I would dedicate vacation time to creating my own pseudo writing retreats. I’d isolate myself – which meant I’d hunker down at my desk, headphones on with the music cranked and my writing cap turned backward (a signal to my family to stay away) -- for three to five 12 hour days of intense outlining/writing. That approach has gotten me this far, but where I’m at obviously isn’t far enough.

My youngest son (my last child still at home) will be starting his senior year in high school in August and has begun to demonstrate a good bit of independence, so one of the roles that compete with my writing time is fading, which is good for my writing but depressing in other respects. And although 

I’ll be turning 61 in a few months, retirement isn’t a possibility anytime soon so my “day-job” will continue to place hurdles in my path to manage.

So, what can I do differently to maintain that sense of inertia I’ve been lacking? I’ve already cut my blogging back to the bare minimum (I’ll never give it up totally – I owe too much to do that), which was a HUGE chunk of my time the first 3-4 years of this journey. I’ve maximized the free time available for creativity and there is seemingly nothing left for me to do. Or is there? What I’ve come to realize is that the inertia I seek needs to be focused on, and originate from, the work -- not just me. If I can find assistance to help me shore up those area’s of my writing that are the weakest, especially during times when I’m not available to contribute, then things can continue to move forward. Since technical skill (i.e. grammar, structure, etc.) is at the top of the list, that’s where I’ll focus first.  Yes, I’ve learned and benefited tremendously from my critique group, but what I need is a one-on-one “coach” to provide insight and guidance, as well as aiding me to bridge the gaps when I’m pulled away. It will cost me some $, but I view it as a necessary expense to compensate for what I’m unable to give freely.

I’ve already reached out to some editors I trust to fill that role, and things are already in motion.  I feel really good about this move and my expectations have been properly recalibrated.

I’ll keep you updated on my (or rather my work’s) progress.

DL

9 comments

  1. I hear you. I am you. Life has gotten in the way of so many projects the last few years, it's a wonder I'm published at all. But you and I kind of live in the same reality. I block out areas of time to FOCUS, mainly school vacations and summer break. I find I look forward to these weeks because I know exactly how much time I will have to get stuff done, and because of the time management crunch I am more productive. Like you, weekends are 12 hour days hunched over the keyboard.

    I tried Twitter for awhile, because I didn't have time to blog, but it's so impersonal. I'm giving blogging another go 'round through the summer to see if I can find any of my old friends. Remember when we were young and naive and writing was a breeze? lol

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    1. I know what you mean. Soon it will be 10 years since this all started, and all I can do is shake my head and chuckle about how ignorant I was back then. :)

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  2. I like that -- focusing on one aspect and seeking a solution. I was all right for a while on the excitement of drafting a new story, but now I need to shake up my own inertia again. Sometimes I do this by carving my life into a schedule down to the minute, which works for a few weeks -- and by then I've gotten far enough along with the wip that it doesn't matter as much if the schedule starts to unravel. Going to print out a timeanddate calendar right now...

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    1. I've taken the first step and employed an editor - one that will both help me improve my work, and my approach. I can see one of my writing weekends on the horizon when I get her suggestions back. :)

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  3. Focus is a great word. At this stage, I can focus on only one or two things at a time, which is perfect. Shake it all up, DL. Get moving.

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    1. I'm doing just that, Susan. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

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  4. Out of necessity, I have to split my focus for several different things. But, I'd love to take a writers retreat and hunker down to writing for a full weekend.

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    1. I can only do it 4-5 times a year, but I LOVE it when I do. Highly recommend it. :)

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  5. I am horribly impatient, too, especially when it comes to hoping to publish or get an agent.

    I cut back on blogging this year and will cut back even more next year, but I love blogging, the people, and my blog to give it up entirely.

    I wish you all the best!

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