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4 ways archery taught me to live life and write better

In March 2020, I walked past once-thriving businesses. One after the other read:


Closed Until Further Notice

Closed Due to Covid-10

Closed, Stay Safe

Closed :(


Grocery store shelves began to empty, local peers laid off, and "quarantine" and "social distancing” became daily lingo.


The world panicked and so did I.


I recall taking photos one evening during this time. Pandemic dread started rising up within me until I caught the last sunset rays. It may be one of the most beautiful and memorable sights of my life. I chose to pause and reflect.


How do I face this pandemic?


I zeroed in on tools that always helped:

photography, writing poetry, listening to comedy podcasts, running, and boxing.


I decided to pursue one more: learning archery.


Over the last two years, archery has become therapy. My discipline, focus, and patience have accelerated. Being outdoors with a bow and arrow creates calm and mental clarity. It is also a springboard for ideas around writing and creative marketing. These are the key lessons I've discovered through my practice and applied to how I write and live:


1. Own your “why”

Since I was a child, I’ve been an ardent fan of three ancient civilizations: Egypt, Rome, and Greece. The Greek Goddess of Hunting, Artemis, is one of my favorites and renowned for her hunting prowess, accurate aim, and for bringing light to the world.


Today when I lift my bow, I imagine I am Artemis.


I attempt to channel and own her inner qualities -- independence, freedom, power, and kindness -- during and after practice. I reflect on and digest personal experiences, and how to keep an open mind and heart with myself and those around me.


Many of the characters and scenes in my writing are born from the cast and situations in my life. I often ask myself - am I painting these in the most authentic way? Or can I dig deeper and bring out their light towards the heart of the reader?


2. Focus on form, not the outcome

During the summer of 2020, I spent my weekends immersed in archery camp. We drilled down on safety, technique, mental awareness, types of equipment, and how to score. The most valuable lesson from these was stance and posture. Regardless of the bow I use, remaining grounded is essential. It affects your ability to position and enable an efficient shot.

When I focus on form, my shot often hits the inner blue and red rings or if I'm lucky, the yellow bullseye. When I focus on the bullseye, my shot usually lands off the board and on the field.


To write, I need a sharpie rollerball pen (0.5mm) and any piece of paper: napkin, letter, or notebook. My best writing starts on paper before it reaches a Notion doc and submission form.


Then when I focus on the character or setting, the process is fluid and words materialize from the heart. If I write for validation, writer's block hits me in the mental gut.


Writing is for me and my progress.


3. Be teachable

I crave criticism.


“Great job” or “Wow, you did it” never cut it during archery sets or writers’ workshops. Praise only goes so far when you’re building on a work-in-progress. You know you need to improve and being teachable is key.

I'm thankful for coaches, mentors, and peers that deliver sharp feedback on areas for improvement. And in some cases, the work in their eyes has been disappointing.


My ego takes a hit, but being held accountable is a call forward to push through and accelerate.

Getting perspectives outside of your mind is essential. And, if the feedback teaches you and creates progress for the task at hand, it is gold.

4. Experiment and evolve

I tested 7+ bows and what felt like 1M+ arrows before I settled on a PSE Razorback. My bow will likely change in a year, as training evolves, my arms become stronger, and I can experiment with heavier bows. My writing trajectory began with poetry, moved to creative nonfiction and short stories, and now includes TV scripts, marketing copy, and branding. None of these is my specialty per se, but they are all special to me. A time and place exist for each and when my writer’s block vanishes, I grab my pen and allow the words to flow.


Carving your own path includes being curious and exploring tools and possibilities. Experiment from the heart and be flexible, nothing will be more satisfactory than your inner growth.


Curious to hear more from me? I'm active on LinkedIn and eager to meet new people.

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1 Comment


Nadine Heir
Nadine Heir
Jun 09, 2022

Such a great read!

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