Escape Velocity

Captain Hector was relentless!

Escape Velocity is the concept in astrophysics (specifically, celestial dynamics) that refers to “the minimum speed needed for a free, non-propelled object to escape from the gravitational influence of a massive body…”  I actually often think about writing long-form fiction the same way.  After a while, you work up a “speed of writing” (word count per day) and a certain momentum.  But dozens of projects will plateau early, run out of steam, and then languish on the vine and die.  You lose interest in the characters or the story eventually meanders and you lose it.  Every so often though, once in a blue moon, a project –its ideas, story, characters, setting– will have such enthusiasm behind it and possess an undeniable energy that it’ll escape the dreaded Orbit of Failure and escape to the promised land.  This is when you’ve got something.

David Foster Wallace, Philip K. Dick, and many others have commented that when they were writing well, not only were the words flowing easily, but it was also as if they themselves were not originating those very words.  This may sound mystical and far-fetched but there’s genuine debate on where ideas and inspiration come from.  Are we, humans, really the source?  Or is there a higher source simply channeling our bodies as mere vessels?  Every era has had their own name of this theory– Socrates and Aristotle called them “creative muses” and Mozart and Beethoven called them “angels.”

My personal belief is that it’s a combination of both.  I think higher powers existing makes sense.  However, they’re necessary but not sufficient.  As I’ve mentioned before, I firmly believe that you need to meet the Universe halfway.  It means putting in the hundreds of hours, but it also means taking care of your physical body and spiritual self.  Eating right, finding love, maintaining hobbies, and exercising.  We can only be vessels of divine inspiration and receive when we are emotionally, physically, and spiritually ready.