I liked what golfer Rory McIlroy had to say immediately after his recent win at the British Open. An interviewer asked what he was thinking as he walked down the 18th fairway, as fans and spectators cheered him on. McIlroy replied, “Two words. Process and spot.” Say what?
What did he mean? I came up with this. Process meant he concentrated on playing his game, not on the excitement, the crowd or the win. And spot meant that magic place on the green where he needed to aim his ball to make the putt. Interesting.
I found those two words sneaking into my head as I sat at my desk reworking a short story. And they talked to me.
What did the word process say? It reminded me to focus on my own writing process, apply what I know about my craft, and be open to what I can discover as I write. In other words, play my game and push away any distractors.
And spot? Just as a golfer assesses the unpredictable curve of the green, I need to assess the elusive arc of the story or the character arc of the protagonist. To know when my words have hit that sweet spot and the story is working.
At 25, Rory McIlroy is on his way to hitting the big sweet spot. Will he become only the sixth golfer to complete the grand slam of golf? He’s won the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. What’s left is the upcoming 2015 Masters. I’m pulling for him.
And from here beneath the palms, I like the way he thinks.