I have been lately enjoying some of the older TED Talks on creativity. If you have still not checked them out, make it your Sunday morning webby destination with a big cup of coffee. Totally worthwhile. After watching Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat, Pray, Love and Adam Savage from Mythbusters, talk about how they deal with what the modern idea of what a muse is and keeping the engine running , it got me thinking about the parallels between the creative process (also a big part of my life) and the learning process for perfecting your shot. I know a lot of archery friends and family that are compelled to make stuff just to get it out of your head. You know who you are.
Finding the Zen zone in practice and execution. That addictive place you want more of, when the shot comes off easy and hits the X, or the idea that strikes you when you have paper and pen in reach. You know you want it. It feels amazing. Eventually, it lasts longer and longer and is easier to get there in the first place. It applies to the physical as well as the mental side of things. When the words pour out of the keyboard or the painting materializes in record time, it’s a combination of everything coming together. Perfection. I know, I know, I used the P-word. Naughty.
Trickier still when you add in the notion of a muse. Not sure it applies equally to archery, but people that you train and shoot with on a regular basis definitely apply as motivation. As in the kick in the ass when you need it most, or just a helpful observation when things are wonky and you can’t sort it out. I have to admit I love the notion of the dead-sexy (male) Greek muse hanging out in my studio and bringing me chocolate cake and great ideas. Alas, hubby does not. ;-) Ideas come from everywhere if you are paying attention. The light at a certain time of day or the funky gourd lamp you saw online. Can you make a quiver out of a gourd? I’ll probably try it at some point. In the good old days, the muse got the blame if the experiment didn’t fly. If the gourd flops, it’ll just gather dust until I toss it on the bonfire pile out back.
The myth of talent. This is a highly debated area. My personal view is that those who work the hardest, usually overcome. Look at all of the para-archers who figured out how to shoot without an arm, leg or a set of eyes and then set records. Proof that there is no crying in baseball. You still have to show up and do the work. You need to be willing to fail when the experiment doesn’t work, too. That part is the hardest for me. Same for the creative stuff. The kid who spends his recess (Do kids still have recess?) drawing is going to be the rock star art director, but maybe without the jump shot. You have to learn to see before it can go on paper. Practice and experimentation, the process is different, but if you are an artist, your brain is there 24/7, looking for pattern, color, keeping your filter open and always looking for the missing magic.
My personal experience tends to run hot. I learn best under pressure and my friends confirm by laughing loudly that I am a “jump in with both feet first” kinda gal. Start a blog with not much writing experience, hold nose and jump in. It’s helped me find my own voice. There’s no testing temperature with a toe first. Swim, dammit.
Whatever feeds your head, do whatever you can to keep it happy and productive. Korean food with a creative friend, or get some tune up lessons from a local pro. If you are into other sports or activities, there are likely useful parallels you can pull in on balance or timing. Hang out more where your ideas seem to find you. Except maybe in the shower. That just makes you late for work.