Lex I: Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus illud a viribus impressis cogitur statum suum mutare.
—Isaaco Newtono, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Or, more familiarly: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon them.
Right now it’s the staying at rest part that’s bothering me. Starting can be surprisingly hard. I told Gwen the other day that running when it’s cold out doesn’t bother me that that much. I run hot anyway, so after the first mile or so, I don’t really notice that it’s cold. It’s starting to run when it’s cold out that bothers me (as I reaffirmed yesterday at 6:15 AM when it was 44 degrees out). If I can just get out the door and get moving, I’m fine. The trick is getting out the door (which I didn’t yesterday).
Revising the current draft of the novel is another thing I’ve had trouble getting going. I’ve had two or three false starts at it, and I’ve had to accept that I won’t get it done by the end of the year. That doesn’t sit well with me, and I want to break the hold inertia has over that project.
There are no end to the sayings about the importance of beginnings:
“The beginning is a very delicate time.” —Princess, Irulan, Dune
“Well begun is half done.” —Mary Poppins (and Aristotle) (and Horace)
“What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — John Anster, in his “very free” translation of Goethe’s Faust
I know these things, but there’s always a gap between theory and practice. The challenge is to close it. I’m trying to do that with regards to getting started on things, and I’m curious: How do you push yourself over those thresholds? What do you do to overcome whatever mental or emotional hurdles you have to pass in order to get started on something? What tricks do you use?