When I was learning instinctual archery, it seemed pretty
straight forward. Use the correct form and the arrow goes where you look. So, I
worked on it:
- Feet shoulder width apart.
- Knees slightly bent.
- Look at your target; both eyes open.
- Raise your arms; bow slightly canted.
- Three fingers on the string; index finger above,
middle and ring finger below.
- Pull the string using your back muscles by bring
the shoulder blades together; bring the middle finger to the corner of the mouth.
“You dropped your elbow.”
“You dropped your elbow. Everything should be in a straight
Again, the elbow dropped. Again and again and again and again. I took video (and posted it on my YouTube channel), so I could see what I was doing. I practiced in the mirror at home without a bow. I practiced on the range. I practiced concentrating on the elbow, then something else would go wrong. My arrows generally made it to the target, some hit the bull’s eye. But it took me a long time to get my form correct, even with Armin Hirmer and Andy Hillsden at Malta Archery coaching me and reminding me about smaller form issues.
It took a lot of practice and patience, and at some point, I
learned from my failure and got better at archery. Creativity takes practice,
patience and the willingness to continue even after mistakes and failures.
As an instructor, I found that most people were afraid to
trust that their minds and eyes will work together to get the arrow on the
target. There’s no aiming. You simply point and trust yourself that your body
knows where to send the arrow. Most people wanted to look at the arrow, but you
don’t look at a ball when you throw it. You look at the target.
With instinctual archery, you have trust yourself. You have
to trust that your body will do what you want it to do. In creativity, you have
to trust your judgement. You have to understand that you know what you want to
accomplish and experimenting will get you there as long as you have knowledge
in the field or domain. You are creative.
Sometimes, beginners would come in and just want to shoot
the bow the way they wanted to shoot the bow. They saw it on TV or had made
their own bow when they were much younger. Some thought the bows were toys, so
they didn’t need instruction. Whatever the reason, they didn’t want to learn
how to shoot the bow with any form.
People who shot guns also would not want to learn how to
shoot a bow. They thought their gun shooting skills would transfer to the bow.
Either they shot too high or didn’t get the power out of the bow they should
Olympic style archers don’t want to learn instinctive
archery. They would come in and shoot in the Olympic style even though the equipment
wasn’t made for it. Bows would crash to the floor. Even good archers would miss
one out of three arrows. Some were stubborn; some didn’t want to ruin their
Instinctive archers using the Mediterranean draw wouldn’t
want to learn thumb draw, even when the bow was clearly made for thumb draw.
Getting a full pull out of one of these bows required more pull. Instead, the archer
was content with getting half as much power and beauty as he or she could have
out of the bow. Thumb draw hurts when your thumb isn’t used to it.
The people who enjoyed archery the most were the ones who
went in for learning everything and it made them better archers because they
could adapt their style to their equipment. That’s true of creativity, too. You
need to use the tools you have, and many of your tools will come from what you
have learned before. Keep learning and get the most out of your creativity.
For more on creativity, order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Improve Your Creativity for a Better Life and World.” Get “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”