Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slowing Down--and Engaging the Creative Brain?

Sometimes the best writing comes when we're slow, dreamy, not thinking about accomplishing anything. Does this happen to you?

Maybe it's because the right brain engages, that non-linear side of our creative selves. This week, I spent many lovely hours immersed in a book that talks about this right-brain gift to creative folks: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. Dr. Taylor is a brain scientist who wrote about having a left-brain stroke that changed her entire way of being in the world. Suddenly without any linear perception or abilities, she came to appreciate the "wholeness" of her right-brain self. Of course, we need both sides of ourselves to function, but in today's world, we tend to use one or the other predominantly.

Open a blank document right now, on your computer, or in your writer’s notebook—wherever you’re reading this post. Call it Random Right-Brain Ideas. Begin a list of ten things you think of, smell or hear, see as you look around your room or office.

Sometime later today—or right now, if you can—set a timer for 20 minutes and pick one of these to write about. Do a “freewrite” where you don’t edit, just let yourself go into slowness and see what’s hanging out there.

Later, look at the writing and ask yourself how it connects to anything important in your life, a question you’ve been wondering about. Or your writing project?