Wednesday, July 6, 2011


For those of us who live in the United States, an election cycle lies right around the bend, and soon we'll doubtlessly find ourselves mired in technical political jargon. Talking heads love to banter about centrism, open primaries, matching funds and which candidates have momentum. I find that last term somewhat fascinating, because as a metaphor it stands up pretty well. Some would-be leaders simply seem to fire on all cylinders during a campaign, speeding from success to success, not allowing any bumps in the road to slow them down. Meanwhile, others struggle to even reach the speed limit, strike a pot hole and promptly blow out a tire. They don't get anywhere.

Am I the only who thinks this could equally apply to writing?

Most of us have experienced those times when a story unspools with the ease of a Ferrari accelerating on a straight stretch of highway. Every new piece of description, character detail or plot point flows into the next with increasing rapidity until -- what do you know? -- we've finished. And if you've written for any length of time, I bet you've gone through the opposite, those periods when you can't get out of compositional first gear, when your pen moves at a Pinto's pace and nothing you do seems to make it move faster.

I know all about being mired. I'm there right now, stuck in a submission that's due in a little over a week and unsure whether or not I'll make the deadline. Here's what I want to know, dear readers: How do you regain momentum after losing it?

(Picture: CC 2009 by Viernest)


pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm asking myself that same question. I have three stories midway through and lack the ambition or ending for any of them. Perhaps they are too dull to finish.

Chestertonian Rambler said...

Having friends read and comment helpfully is always really helpful. Also reading and commenting upon others' stories, where I get to suggest tweaks without worrying about writing the parts that come to me only with difficulty.

Now I feel guilty. Hopefully I'll read your story tonight or tomorrow.

Tony said...

Edit your work. The moment I begin editing something I wrote, i can't help but add onto it. Once the momentum has begun, it cannot be stopped.

Loren Eaton said...


That's the question I'm asking myself about this piece. I don't know if it's fatally flawed or if I'm just a bit lazy toward it.

Loren Eaton said...


No guilt, sir. Go enjoy some gelato and espresso. Those strike me as perfect motivators given your current setting.

Loren Eaton said...


Well, I'm almost to that point. Maybe I'll push to an ending, however insufficient, and get out the red pen.