Monday, February 18, 2013

Write Right!



First of all I want to say a huge THANKS to all Minx followers for taking Blaze to Amazon.com Top 100 Free Best Sellers Rank: #37 this weekend as well as to #1 in Anthologies & #1 in Romance Short Stories :-)
I've blogged about the disadvantages of writing with a brain injury (see 'When words become enemies') but hadn't thought about the advantages before I attended a WordNerd workshop and met Rebecca Woodhead, who also has damage to the left side of her brain and hasn't let it hold her back. She noticed I spoke much more quickly and fluently when describing images (using the right, undamaged side of my brain) than when using the logical thinking left brain.
While some of what's written about right and left brain activity is over simplistic, some of it is most definitely true. I was reminded of what I'd been taught to do during rehab  - use images more to make up the shortfall (as my visual memory is unimpaired but my auditory memory shot to pieces).
But it never occurred to me that tapping into this more intuitive, image based way of writing could be an actual advantage. 

For instance I've just started using Pinterest to build storyboards and am loving it! And yes, I can use it when too ill to use 'words'. So if you see lots of Pinterest pinning on my Facebook timeline you can guess I'm having a bad health day!
Using voice to text software also leads to a different way of working, describing the story as I see it playing out in my mind without the tiring process of sending the language through my
fingertips.
So, I have a head start favouring this intuitive creativity but if, unlike me, you're hampered by a fully functioning left brain ;-) here are some exercises to help you deliberately use the right side of your brain more:

Writing prompts for the right brain
Exercise your right brain
For the arty among you there is a really interesting book called 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' explaining how to deliberately use the right side of the brain for increased creativity.

For me, I'm determined to learn more how I can use this to my advantage. Huge thanks to Rebecca for helping me see how an 'impairment' doesn't have to be a disability but could actually enhance my creativity.
I have to say it does explain the huge boost to my creativity the brain injury has given me. I've never painted, drawn, sewn more prolifically in my life than in the past four years. At the moment I'm working on a lamp shade, PJ bottoms, a felt patchwork quilt (I worked out how to make the felt myself), a cross stitch landscape and an appliqué picture and this is actually a quiet phase for me craft-wise as I'm focusing on writing at the moment!

I didn't stumble back into the writing 'flow' until I wrote my story for Blaze (described in the blog post mentioned above) But now I'm determined to use that 'flow' whenever I feel stuck,  rather than trying to overthink my stories. 
Thinking visually will be less tiring for me and who knows, it may even result in better stories. 

Watch this space...

6 comments:

Romy Sommer said...

I very definitely use the left/analytical side of my brain way too much and need to learn how to switch it off more, so thanks for the book reference. I'm going to follow your lead in this!

I also love the graphic.

Lorraine said...

Have fun with it. I find I'm writing a lot faster by 'going with the flow'. If I feel the pace slowing I go for a walk and let the answer of what should happen next come to me.
How the end result will be I don't know but I do know I've written my highest word count ever since my injury in the past two months and I'm loving writing again :-)

Although the 'we only use 10% of our brains' thing has been debunked as a myth we certainly don't use our full metal potential. Try the other two links for actual writing exercises using the right side of the brain...

Charlotte Phillips said...

Hello!! I'm definitely going to try the exercises. I had a go at fast-drafting for the first time recently and letting go of my pesky internal editor (which usually has me going back over my words on a daily basis, tweaking and fiddling) resulted in a huge jump in creativity. OK so my first draft was much much dirtier, but at least I HAD a first draft within a decent time frame!

Excellent post!

Lorraine said...

Hi Charlotte :-)

I'm coming around to the fast draft idea too, (or at least my version of it!) I see it like creating a painting - the first draft is the sketch and then you go back over and paint in the colour and detail.

P.S. Painting analogy could be because my current hero is an artist ;-)

Catherine Coles said...

What an inspiring post! Wonderful way to focus on the positives and come out on top :D

I've started knitting and crocheting again on a night and it's amazing how many story ideas I have while doing that. Yay for creative brains!!

Catherine Coles said...

What an inspiring post! Wonderful way to focus on the positives and come out on top :D

I've started knitting and crocheting again on a night and it's amazing how many story ideas I have while doing that. Yay for creative brains!!