I remember once reading a Supernatural fan fiction in which Dean, one of the main characters, get swapped into an alternate universe version of himself. The Dean that Supernatural viewers are accustomed to is a super tough, buff demon hunter. His alternate universe version was, as Dean would put it, a ‘civilian.’
What does this have to do with archery? Bear with me, I’m getting there.
I can’t remember much else about the story, except that monsters came into the alternate universe and it was down to Dean to save the day. In his flabby, untrained body. The first thing he did is what sticks with me almost ten years later. He started an exercise regime. Fair enough. With 50 push ups.
Now, I know it’s different for blokes – upper body strength and all – but if you’ve ever tried starting to do push ups, you’ll know how hard it is. I can do about 4 really pathetic ones, and that’s after working on it for a while now XD
The point is, this writer had no clue what it takes to build up fitness. They had probably never done a push up in their life.
It was fan fiction, I can forgive them, they were probably of an age with me when I read it, i.e. about fifteen. You don’t normally know much age fifteen.
But it taught me a valuable lesson. As a writer, I always like to have experiences before I write about them, just to make sure I’m accurate. You can watch all the youtube videos you like, but if you haven’t tried something, you can’t talk about it with the same authority.
To this end, I was very excited to try some archery.
A new club has started just down the road from me, and Taylor suggested going along. She’s done a bit of archery at uni, so she’s familiar with how it works, and really enjoys it.
I watched her shoot, then got up to have a go myself. The first thing I noticed was exactly how hard it was to draw the bow (and we had a pathetic poundage of 24!!). Even harder – drawing the bow and holding it steady to aim! But look: evidence that I did actually shoot a bullseye!
Okay, so Taylor had to go all the way to the back of the hall to get the arrow I shot over the top of the target….
I’m aware that my upper body strength and my core strength is pathetic. Taylor and I have been doing some 30 Day challenges to try and improve body strength with a view to improving our running. We’re coming on slowly – her quicker than me! – but I’d love to do more archery to help with upper body. Weights are so boring – archery is hard work, but it’s fun.
Plus, I’ve already picked up so many things that I know I got wrong in my brief scene featuring a character who uses a bow and arrow. I read it back after archery and cringed at some of the errors that anyone with a basic knowledge of archery would have spotted. I wrote the scene knowing it would need to be changed once I’d had a chance to play with a bow and arrow myself, but it’s shocking how much was wrong, despite what I thought to be quite thorough research.
I’m really looking forwards to next week now, and hoping that with a bit more practise, I’ll be able to draw the bow all the way to my nose as you’re supposed to!