Fitness Writing, Part V

bikingMy first bike was a 5-speed Schwinn. The gear shift was in the middle with a big black knob on the end. Banana-type seat. Later, I had a ten speed which I outgrew. In Oskaloosa, I had, for a short time, a three speed several decades old, complete with a headlight. Unfortunately, I kept it in the laundry room and someone stole it. Now I have a ten speed that is just a bit small for me, but it works.

Earlier this summer, I spent about two and half hours biking down to Indianola via the Summerset Trail. The next day, I visited a bike shop and bought a new seat. Not only were my knees swollen from the 25 miles, my rear hurt because of the narrow seat. Recently, I also bought a helmet.

My biking regimen is similar to my running. Intervals and Distance.

Intervals

This has proven a bit more difficult because I can’t just pick a street and race up and down. I could, but I’d have to watch for traffic and I’m not sure how the intervals would go. Maybe I’ll experiment one day. Anyway, I use a section of the bike/walking trail, a portion of the first length of the Summerset Trail. Again, I’ll pedal slowly for a distance, then a bit faster, then all out. Usually, I do eight rounds with the last two rounds the entire length.

To transition this to writing, I still use burst of writing, quick stuff, but this time I’m not worrying about quality. I just want to get something down. Quick scenes that I’ll rethink and edit later. The annual event in November where writers try to get down an entire novel within the month, can be like this. Usually, it’s just words without the quality. This is not necessarily bad, but be aware that the material will have to be reworked with much of it thrown out.

Distance

Here again, one can relate the trek on the trail, but usually I set the alarm for half an hour, pick a direction and go. So far, south has been covered by the Indianola trip. I’ve gone east past a little town called Hartford approximately five miles away. The last distance was north where I headed out what I call the back way from Carlisle and ended up going toward Des Moines.

For writing, I think of this distance as on a long trip, perhaps a vacation, on a plane or a bus, or in the car. You’ll have plenty of breaks, but it’s perseverance that counts. Again, you can get into the ‘zone’ when you write because, let’s face it, a lot of the scenery out there is pretty boring. I’m not dissing Iowa, but there’s a lot of farmland out there and one field looks a lot like another, especially in February. And no, Iowa is not completely flat, but it is in a lot of places. Long trips when you’re not the driver are perfect for sinking into your imagination and letting it flow onto paper.

Next week: Form

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