Why your teacher was probably wrong

I used to hate writing when at school. Assignments and essays used to send me into a spin – I’d panic at the thought of a 500 word deadline. Most of the time they wouldn’t get done or the attempt was so pathetic it was embarrassing.

Today is different. Some people say I’ve got some special talent for writing – this makes me laugh because I know how bad I used to be. At least now I can churn out the words, it’s not uncommon for me to write 2000 words in a single sitting. Writing has become much easier.

So what’s the secret?

The big answer is traditional teaching for writing is all wrong. We’re taught to be perfect, to edit as we go along and absolutely ensure there are no spelling mistakes.

The problem with this lot is it kills creativity. The part of your brain required to write and the one for editing are chalk and cheese. So there’s conflict – a big nasty mess of confusion and frustration.

But when you write like there’s no tomorrow. When you write first and worry later things start to happen. And the best part? You can come back later and do and edit and make some changes. You get the best of both worlds as you are working with your system rather than against it.

Golf instruction is the same. It’s drilled into us to swing correctly – to not make a mistake and try hard to adhere to the swing model rules.

This is all but impossible and one reason so many of us have a golf game like an awkward writer – jerky, nervous and lacking flow. We get the equivalent of writer’s block.

Even those reaching out to the automatic golf kind of way get lost – they try too hard and think too much – they want it so bad that they forget to get out of their own way and play the game.

If you want to write, then write. If you want to be a better golfer then play the game. You can always do the editing when you’ve mastered the art of getting out of your own way.

And the best part?

When you stop trying to be perfect. When you appreciate mistakes are part of the learning process. And when you understand the difference between fixing and playing you need a whole lot less of the editing process. You get things “correct” far more often the first time.

The teaching system may be broken, but you’re learning system is not. Go play, write, create, jump and do art. It’s all fun

Footnote: This article took 13 minutes to write and required almost no editing 🙂

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10 Comments

  • Michael M.

    Reply Reply January 24, 2013

    Hi Cam,
    Do you think you would have done well at writing assignments at school if the subject were golf related and not shakespeare or history?!!!
    I was talking to my brother the other day about golf. He is like me, just getting back into the game after a few years off. Like me he also said that all the things we have been taught by club pros,books videos has been erased from our memory and we just go out and hit the ball now! We both agreed that it is a great feeling not having all those thoughts when standing over the ball!
    The best part he said was driving par 4’s with eagle putts and shooting 34 for a sneaky nine holes after work! Damn i hate hearing that!
    Have a great day
    Mick M.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 25, 2013

      Michael M: I don’t think it would have mattered much – I had the concept of writing all wrong. In saying that, if there was more interesting things taught it would have helped with the interest level.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply January 24, 2013

    When you play the game your thoughts are on playing not your swing.
    Think walk get set and act.
    Then repeat.
    Not hard when we make it simple.
    Just like writing
    Let it flow .
    Ta Steady

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply January 24, 2013

    We’re held captive by a “zero defect” mentality: too afraid of failure to pursue success with any degree of enthusiasm. It’s a huge barrier to overcome. Thanks for showing us it can be done! 🙂

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 25, 2013

      Mistakes are part of the learning process. It really is that simple but were conditioned to think otherwise.

  • Troy Vayanos

    Reply Reply January 28, 2013

    Good advice Cameron,

    I’ve experienced this with both my golf swing and my own blog. It is so much easier just to keep churning out the work and worry about fixing things up later. The brain can just keep putting out all the information without having to stop and fix all the time.

    Definitely a much more productive process!

    Cheers

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply February 2, 2013

    Brilliant. You can close your web site now. There’s nothing more to write 🙂

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 2, 2013

      Thanks GP – great to hear from you. I might just use this in future marketing material…

  • adam

    Reply Reply May 11, 2013

    Im an expert writer and i agree with this. It doesnt take much to write well. Im guessing its the same with all skills.

  • adam

    Reply Reply May 11, 2013

    All of you: enjoy golf. Dont even think about not thinking just hit the ball at the flag. Golf isnt even about improvement but about enjoying hitting a round object into a hole. Naturally everything will fall into place. This is what ive learned. When i enjoy golf score doesnt matter nor your swing nothing else except enjoying golf. Thats what its about anyway. Having a conversation with you old golfing mate and hitting a ball a long way into a hole whike afterwards drinking a beer or and enjoying your life. Remember that next time youre on the course.

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