Monday, August 8, 2011

Left Brain Interruptus

"Pat you head and rub your tummy!" said my little girl to me.

An instant memory of my playground days flashed to mind. I used to be brilliant at this feat. Somehow I doubted I'd still be able to do it. I mean, it's been more years than I care to admit since I'd attempted to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time.

But if it entertained her, I'd give it a go. To my amazement, it was like no time had passed at all. With easy dexterity I patted and rubbed, then reversed direction and, just to check, I swapped hands and got the same smooth a result. 

Needless to say, Meg was very impressed and I was so shocked I had an epiphany!

For years I've been bemoaning the fact that I just can't shut up my internal editor (what I call left-brain interruptus) and spend all of my writing hours fighting and resisting the need to make sure each word is perfect, every sentence constructed clearly, and all the other editorial tasks that ensures a great read, which, let me tell you, slows output right down. I'm not talking about the editing, simply the resistance that grinds creativity to a halt. 

It was only while patting and rubbing that something dawned on me. To achieve this simple childhood exercise you must be able to use both sides of your brain simultaneously. So while I'm completely right brained, I am super-capable of multitasking--to the point where I get compliments for it. In case you don't realise, you use both sides of your bran when multitasking.

Anyway, back to the point. 

The point I'm making is, it's possible to write and edit and still write fast IF you embrace left-brain interruptus as you natural way of writing. I've always had to write and edit before I can move on--you can see where the trouble came in if all I did was fight myself. I was convinced I had to write an entire first draft before starting all over again with a second draft and on and on until I had my story polished to a high sheen--well that's what the experts would have us believe, isn't it?

But what if we go crazy and write and edit as we go? We may not finish a first draft in six weeks, but when we do finish the MS in two to three months it will be completely finished and polished! To my way of thinking, we can have two authors: Author A and Author B. Author A writes at a cracking pace and finishes an entire novel in no time at all. But she has to start all over again and write another draft and another and another and... Then we have Author B who writes--to her mind--at an excruciatingly slow pace and finishes a novel in three months. But once she types The End she's finished. Perhaps she'll go back and tinker-- because that's what she does--but her novel is finished.

By this time Author A is also finished.

Both authors took the same length of time to write their books, they just took different routes to get there. So whether we write one draft after another, or accept our super ability to polish as you go, chances are two authors starting from the same point, but travelling in opposite directions to an end point, will finish at the same time.

This is my theory, anyway. <*grin*> 

Want to know what I learned while trying to entertain my daughter? I learned not to fight myself ever again--to embrace my natural ability to multitask and allow myself to write the way my mind works! I bet this alone will increase my output. 

Do you suffer from left brain interruptus?

Perhaps you, too, might consider embracing your gift and using it to excel. At the very least, your writing day will be a LOT less stressed!

Close [x]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I greatly appreciate it! :) :)