Courtney S. Barr

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Breathing life into an MS beyond the inertia...

"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it."
-Anais Nin
I don't like the word inertia...well some weekends I do; but on the whole I really don't. I enjoy relaxing after a long day's work, but there must first be that long day, that work to then enjoy what relaxation is all about.
All summer long I have been in a state of inertia when it comes to writing. The storm shook me up a bit, then we held the fundraiser and now school has begun for my resident 17 year old. Life is never boring, but inertia can still exist within areas that seem to be a constant movement. That is scary part about inertia. We think that we are moving, that we are being productive but really we are just performing a rote action. We have lost the excitement, the feeling of accomplishment, the ambition, the desire to better improve; we are just going along with the motions pretending that we are moving.

I was at a service last weekend that discussed life, creating habits, and looking at something you do every day differently. The application was more geared to prayer but I would be losing a great deal of the message if I did not apply it to other areas as well. I realized that writing before the storm had become a bit rote. I wasn't excited when I opened the file and I wasn't missing it when I was away. That isn't good. I had let the entire summer pass me by and had barely done anything with the story except go through the motions.

So last night I decided to apply the message to my own story. To sit down, to open the file, to read my words and see beyond what letters on the page spelled out and to breathe life back into the story. It was fulfilling to move forward, to no longer sit on the edge of something I truly desire to witness in all its elements. I broke it apart and saw myself looking at the characters, settings, and plot more openly. It is not ready to be shelved, in fact a brand new direction came out the endeavor.

Inertia had me thinking that it was time to give up but fresh air, an open mind and the desire to better the work has me now excited to see where the next scene is going...

What do you do when the words seem to be lackluster on the page? Do you give up immediately or do you work through the issues and discover something new? How do you know when it is truly time to shelve the work or it just needs an afternoon in the sun?


  1. I basically never give up. I'm neurotic about it. I've been working on the same novel for nearly three years now, but I'm okay with it.

    And off-topic, but it feels like I haven't been here in FOREVER! Your blog has not been showing up in my dashboard. Maybe it's just because you post later in the day.

  2. Hi Courtney, just found you from Tali Roland's blog! Very interesting post and I like your thoughts. I finished my novel earlier in the year and it's now with a London agent who's submitting it to publishers. When inspiration ran dry I opened up some little yellow folders in my computer. I had made one for each character and filled them with bits and pieces I knew they would love, faces that made me think of them and photos of the places where they lived. That seemed to get me back in love with them and ready to start writing about them again :-)
    The Time Sculptor

  3. Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

  4. I always try to push through to the end and then sit back for a week or two and think things through.
    PS - Thank you for your lovely comment on my London post!


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