Larry Enright

Larry Enright

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Newton’s First Law of Motion and Writing - Inertia

Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare.

This is Newton’s First Law of Motion.

Literally, it means, “Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.”

Loosely translated for those of us who only speak English, this means that a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless something gives it a nudge or drags it down. We call that “Inertia.”

“I suffer from inertia.” That’s something people say when they just can’t get moving. The phrase has come to connote only negativity — our inability to get up and get going, as in “my get up and go got up and went.” 

But I like to focus on the positive side of inertia when writing — keep doing it and try not to let anything drag me down. How do I do that? I do it every day, writing that is. (You people have such dirty minds!) I will keep writing and I will keep moving.

But there are things that compel us to change state (How’s that for Newtonian?): things like friction that cause bodies in motion to slow down and eventually stop. So I avoid friction. How do I do that?

Yes, greasing oneself everyday can help, but generally when I feel friction, I get up from my desk and walk around, jump around, run around, get a drink, do laundry, anything to make those little friction munchers go away.

Opposing force can also slow you down. Running into a wall is a good example. Writers do that a lot. How do I avoid that? Well, I look up once in a while to see if the direction I’m going with my writing is heading toward a wall. What else would I do? So I get up from my desk (see a pattern here?) and go sit in a quiet spot and think about my story. Then I come back.

Why, you may ask, am I writing this? It’s what I do.

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