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I think of Means as part of the cop phrase, “The suspect had means, motive, and opportunity.” I take it and revise it just a bit so that Means includes preparation, opportunity, and follow up.

prepare picPreparation

When it comes to fitness, you have to prepare for the workout. This includes cardio work to get the heart pumping. Proper warmup starts with cardio. You need the heart going and the blood pumping, the sweat forming, the muscles warming. Then you can do some stretching. One of the worst things I've seen (and I've been guilty of this before I learned) is the instructor will get the students in a front stance and start off class with high straight leg kicks. Ugh! With no other warmup, you're risking pulling muscles. You'll end up with a nice hamstring bruise the size of Idaho. I've seen one and it ain't pretty.

For writing, preparation includes gathering the writing materials. Pen, paper, computer, drink, special lighting, candles for mood enhancement, locked door, turned off Internet, orders to the family not to be disturbed, or whatever you do to prepare to write.

Opportunity picOpportunity

For my fitness regiment, which I'll discuss later, I choose different times of the day for my workout. Morning, noon, afternoon, two in the morning. I've done it all. When I was living in the campground in southeast Iowa, I chose three in the morning to do my five mile run. I had to be concerned with only a couple of watchdogs at a farmhouse. I also vary the location. Sometimes it's the local track, the next time it'll be a zig-zag through town, or on the bike trail. Something to vary the routine. I've done running workouts up and down my stretch of Ash Street.

Many writers have set times of day to write. That's fine. I know a guy who gets up at five in the morning and writes for two hours. Janet Evanovich takes part of the afternoon. If you have a set time and it works for you, great. What would happen if you vary the routine. Write at midnight. During the lunch hour. After work and before supper. Could you write when the opportunity (and the ideas) strike? In a restaurant (yes, I have). At a coffee shop. (Stereotypical, I know but why not?) Waiting in line at the grocery store (might be a bit difficult). I wouldn't suggest writing at the red light, but what about during break time at work?

follow up picFollow Up

In fitness, we call it the cool down stage and at age 48 in T-minus two months and counting (give or take a day or two) I have found that cool down after working out is not just a suggestion. It's vital if I want to keep my joints and muscles from tightening up. I made the mistake a few weeks ago of talking with a guy for twenty minutes after my laps instead of walking and keeping the muscles stretched. At the time of this writing, I'm still dealing with a knee problem I think stemmed from that neglect.

How does this relate to writing? Well, maybe you write longhand on notepaper or a legal pad. The follow up could be transcribing that written page to the word processor. Or it could be reviewing what you just wrote, making some quick edits. If you've scribbled down an idea, maybe follow up could be discussing it with another person, writing down or starting research for the idea. Also, as I mentioned last week, a great follow up to writing is to celebrate what you've done. If you've promised yourself an extra cookie for finishing the chapter, then munch away.

Next week: Method.

Note: next week's post may be interrupted by one of those pesky authors who, from time to time, step in to take the reins. lol

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