Left brain or right brain? How does it affect your writing?
Published on March 7, 2012 by lahilden | Views: 6021

Both sides of your brain work together at all times, but as your brain develops when you are young, it lateralizes functions, placing the control centers for some functions on the right side, and the control centers for others on the left.

In writing, it is important to know which is your dominant side so that you can play to your own strengths and weaknesses. (See earlier blog titled Are You Left or Right Brained?)  http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=65

Left-brain thinkers tend to outline meticulously before sitting down to write.  A left-brained thinker is likely to have the synopsis finished before beginning their story.  They often have a detailed plot outline and do not like to stray from that outline.  They may even have character arcs, and they know exactly where their book will begin and end.  When it comes to writing, the left-brained thinkers will have a more difficult time writing themselves out of a roadblock if they hit one, which is often due to being so structured.  Left-brained thinkers do not wait for their muse.  They find satisfaction in knowing exactly where their story is heading.  They are usually never late in getting their manuscript to the editor.  Some left-brained thinkers may have difficulty incorporating emotions in their writing due to the demands their left-brain makes on them.  Left-brained authors should remember to not be so set on your outline that you don’t venture into different and surprising directions with your story.

Right-brained thinkers tend to write off the cuff with spontaneity.  They hate writing a synopsis before the story, because although they have a general idea of where to begin, they really don’t know where their story is heading yet.  Right-brained thinkers often have their desk covered in sticky notes with ideas or characters to incorporate in their story, but it is in no way a plot outline.  Right-brained thinkers are usually emotional and intuitive and often see the story as a whole.  Some right-brained thinkers even write their chapters out of order.  They don’t become stuck because they move forward and write a different chapter.  The downside is you must go back later and put all your pieces back together.  Writing this way also makes it easier to write yourself into a corner.  Right-brained thinkers don’t have preset conditions for their characters and find satisfaction in wondering where their characters will take them today.

I’m a right-brained thinker, and yet I have some left-brain attributes, which makes sense since we use both sides.  As a right-brained thinker I never really know where my story is going, but I have a general idea of the problem I want the couple to overcome.  I do wait for my muse and the ideas to come to me.  I absolutely hate outlines and the dreaded synopsis.  I will jot down notes, dates, or even a witty line of dialogue on sticky notes.  However, I could never write my chapters out of sequence.  I can’t imagine writing chapter one and then moving further and writing chapter five, that is not nearly orderly enough for me and would probably make me crazy.  I’m quite good at working through distractions, but with three kids, you either learn to work through disruptions or you don’t write.  Not writing isn’t an option.  I do recognize people’s faces, but unfortunately I often forget names.  I pride myself on my intuition and often make decisions based on emotion.  I love music and remember lyrics easily.  I’m terrible at math, and I fear what would happen to my house if I didn’t have the ability to multitask.

Remember in writing, it is the left brain that pays attention to mechanics such as spelling, agreement, and punctuation. But the right side pays attention to coherence and meaning; that is, your right brain tells you it “feels” right. Your decisions are often based on feelings.