I was thinking about this post on writing my novel, and I realized that incremental progress is only one of the advantages of daily writing and daily prayer.
When I write every day, I develop a momentum. The words I wrote today make the words I write tomorrow come easier and with more energy. If I miss a few days writing, I find it hard to get started again. I have to get my head back into the story, find my voice again, find out what happens next.
When I am writing daily, I am living in the story. What happens next is laid out in front of me, like the little arrows on Google Street View.
In physics, momentum is mass times velocity, or roughly equal to the heaviness of the object times its speed. In writing, the speed is how many words we are writing each day or better each week. The mass or heaviness is how important the writing is to us. The more important our writing is to us, and the more regularly we are writing it, the more momentum we’ll have, and the easier it will be to keep going.
Prayer is like that. The speed is the percentage of our time we spend in prayer. The heaviness is the intensity of the prayer. As we develop prayer momentum, prayer – which is characterized by our closeness to God and the graces he provides – becomes easier to keep going, and the graces multiply.
This, I think, is a concept for hope, because in the beginning both the writing and the prayer are hard. Sometimes they seem too hard; it seems like we try and try and only fail. We make so little progress in the beginning for the work we are doing.
Sitting in the dock, so massive, it takes an enormous effort to begin the motion, but once underway, momentum keeps it going forward, and soon it is speeding across the ocean.
Or think of the rocketship. It requires huge solid fuel boosters to be able to separate itself from the Earth. But in minutes those boosters are shed, and it powers ever upward, riding its momentum.
Don’t give up. Be patient. Let your momentum build.