As you may or may not know, the left brain typically controls your logical, rational, “editing” thought processes. The right brain controls your creativity and imagination processes. And it is absolutely crucial, during the initial writing stages where you are solely creating, to quiet your left brain.
Problem is, for most people (myself included), quieting the left brain is a near-impossible task. It’s the little voice in your head who whispers things like “You really need to re-write this sentence.” And “Are you sure you’re satisfied with the dialogue on page 23? You should go back and change it.” And “Nobody’s going to read this. You should just stop and do something more productive.”
If this is what you think while your writing, this is your left brain rudely interfering with your right brain’s creative processes. And if your left brain continues to get in the way, your right brain will eventually give up and tell your left brain to write it. This is the cause of many lost muses.
There is a solution. Suggested by Kirt Hickman, there are several ways in which you may combat left brain intrusion.
- Get up early. Your left brain is sleeping all night, but your right brain stays awake and gives you dreams. If you wake up early enough (and skip the coffee) you can fool your sleeping left brain for a few hours of solid creative writing.
- Separate yourself from all distractions. This includes internet, cell phones, children (not a personal issue but I can only imagine the difficulty of this) etc. All of these distractions kick your left brain into gear and it can be extremely difficult to turn off once you’ve turned it on.
- Write by hand. Typing is a neurological process that uses your left brain. Writing by hand, especially in cursive, actually uses your right brain processes instead, immediately shutting down another subtle way your left brain can interfere.
- Write on unlined paper. The desire for lines and order is insisted on by your left brain, but your right brain thrives on the open unconfined visual spaces of unlined paper.
- Never, EVER, stop to edit your work. This includes poorly written sentences, misspellings, or any form of internet research.
These tricks aren’t necessarily easy, and for them to be truly effective it takes practice (after all, haven’t we all been taught to listen to only our left brain for the whole of our lives?) It is likely our right brain is sadly underdeveloped and to truly create we must nurture and develop it with work, time, and energy.
Guess that’s another reason why you can’t be a writer without passion.
- Right or left? Brain stimulation can change which hand you favor (sciencedaily.com)
- Brain Stimulation Can Affect Which Hand You Favor – AZCentral.com (azcentral.com)
- Right – Brain Performance in a Left – Brain World (teachstreet.com)
- Brain Science: Does Being Left-Handed Make You Angry? (healthland.time.com)