Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Fight of the Century: My Left-Brain vs. My Right-Brain

My brain has been utterly resisting the creative writing process for the last couple of days.  And not even because I’m lazy. 

Usually if I’m not writing (while in the middle ofsomething like NaNo or a Boot Camp) it’s because I’m just too plain lazy to put in the work. 

But the last couple of days my right brain and left brain have been in the middle of Tarantino-worthy knock-down, drag-out.  And my analytical left-brain seems to have my creative right-brain spitting teeth at the moment. Not surprising really, I am heavily left-brained. 

In case you need a brainology lesson...

But why the big throw-down between my left and right brain? Because I’ve reached the most dreaded part of my new book:

The Middle.

I usually start off with a pretty firm idea of the beginning and the end of my stories. But the middle…  There’s so much stuff that can go in there that it becomes paralyzing. You have to decide what is important, interesting and keeps the story moving. 

Orson Welles said it best: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” Too many choices causes my heavily left-brained self to completely shut down the writing process. 

Plotting a story is like running through a giant maze. It’s fun, and it’s challenging. At first you run freely because Wheeeee! I’m in a maze!!  But after a while you slow down because Wait. I’m in a maze. Where am I going again?

My left-brain balks at the thought of going down a part of the maze that looks like a dead end. Even if my right-brain promises it is not really a dead end. There is a cut-through part way down that maze path that can’t be seen right now. 

Yesterday I wrote zero words because my right-brain couldn’t convince my left-brain the chapter we were about to write wasn’t really a dead end.

But today we will go down that dead end-looking path and trust that right-brain is correct about the cut-through.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical. But we're still going to write it.

(And yes, I have reached the point where I am referring to myself in plural tense. It's not even the worst of my... uh, our... problems)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love this! I feel exactly the same--that writing a book is like finding my way through my maze--and I did EXACTLY this today. I halted my forward-writing progress in order to tidy up the plot plan to fit where I was going. I couldn't deal with writing forward any more without being certain it was in the right direction.

    I've been thinking a lot about right brain/left brain writing strategies of late, so it's lots of fun to see your take on it all. Glad I'm not the only analytical type in the writing world :)