Left Brain, Right Brain-Use Both
I took one of those online test that determines the percentage of Left Brain, Right Brain usage. Mine was 35% Left Brain and 65% Right Brain. That’s just about right.
Left brain people are more analytical, rational. and objective. They do well with math and order. Many of us find the hard core lefties to be hard to understand. They live in a world of numbers, shapes, and symbols that don’t make sense to us. But they sure are nice to have around when the computer goes down.
Their imagination is in the realization of a problem to be solved. The left-brainers rule in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and we need them to continue our lifestyle as we know it.
Right brain people tend to be more instinctive, emotional, creative, and imaginative. Their fields may include art, music, and, yes, writing. Think dancers, actors, artists, musicians (although there is a great link between music and math), and our fellow authors. We are the collective imagination of the masses.
We have a higher rate of being left-handed and we have a higher rate of depression and other mental illnesses. I believe it is because we see the world in our own way and become frustrated when we can’t bring our vision to fruition. And yes, I fight depression on a daily basis. Thanks to the STEM people who created my medication.
Most writers are a combination of left and right (brain…not politics). We bring our creativity to the table, pour our emotions out through words, and stretch our imagination to the limit. Most of us will never be on a bestseller list but we persevere. Our left brain reminds us of the logical rationales while our right brain continues to dream.
Writing demands structure. Even if you fly by the seat of your pants, it has to make sense. Plots, themes, outlines, all of them require planning and logistics. The left brain stuff.
I love planning DIY projects for around the house. Going from an idea, planning out and obtaining the supplies needed, visualizing the finished product, then realizing the objective is satisfying.
Hey, sounds a bit like my last writing project. We start with an idea (right brain), plan out what we need (paper, pen, peace of mind…for those with kids), think about how we want the story to go and end, then start writing like we are possessed.
Some folks don’t like the planning out part…we call them pantsers. On the other end of the spectrum are the outliners. Most of us are somewhere in the middle using a bit of both but whatever your method…it works for you.
So when you are working on your story and you find yourself stuck, try looking at it from the the other side of your brain. Shift gears. If you’ve been doing a pantser sprint and face a dead end sign, try looking at structure. And if you have been grinding the pencil to a stub working on structure, lighten up. Try just running with it.
The ultimate goal is to create your own personal masterpiece and, for some of us, just seeing our words on a screen as a finished product is as good as a bestseller.
Columnist/Illustrator at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
Nancy E. Miller, romantic suspense author of Shark Bait and Crystal Unicorns, lives near St. Louis with her husband and three dogs, pygmy goats, chickens and a cranky rooster named Ketchup. Her degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in education and mental health as a case manager and crisis counselor.