Ideas are everything to writers. Unfortunately, unless you develop processes which successfully nurture good ideas, your writing will suffer. I share a process called “light-switch thinking” with my coaching students. It’s a process any writer can use, very easily.
First a little bicameral brain theory. Consider that you have not just one brain, but two brains.
Your brain is divided into two halves: left brain/ right brain. It’s joined by the corpus callosum, a bundle of neural fibers which connects the two hemispheres.
Your corpus callosum allows your two brains to communicate. Without constant communication, you wouldn’t be YOU. Your left brain is verbal, logical, and is in charge of you. Your right brain is creative, and intuitive, but it’s silent.
Your right brain communicates via images and feelings. We’re writers, so we need our right and left brain to communicate, constantly. However, many writers shut off that communication. They don’t use what they have. So they struggle with many aspects of building a solid writing career.
How to use your WHOLE brain: switch on the lights
You can use all your brainpower resources quite simply:
- Be aware that your right brain is “silent”, it can’t speak.
- Give your right brain space to communicate.
Writers try to create using logic, and what they know. This works, but not particularly well. Your left brain isn’t creative: you can’t force it to become creative. You have to “switch” and allow your right brain to communicate.
Be aware that your left brain doesn’t care much for this; it likes to be in control. 🙂 So you’ll feel uncomfortable initially when you use this process. Relax.
One of my students, Peggy, finally quit her day job to write full time. Since she was making more income from writing than from her job, it seemed the sensible thing to do.
However, there were stresses. Peggy’s husband brooded and worried, which caused Peggy to worry. When she lost a couple of clients, she became even more stressed.
She was falling behind on her assignments, and panicked. I suggested that she relax, and then spend a little time each day getting in touch with her right brain.
It’s easy to do. Consciously decide that you’re idea hunting, and clear your mind. If you like you can browse Pinterest, or doodle. Your right brain expresses itself in images — in wholes, if you like, as well as in feelings. It’s not verbal, it’s intuitive.
Wait for a few moments, and write down ten ideas. Or 20. Write whatever comes.
You can do this daily. Over time, try paying attention to ideas which float into your brain, and writing them down — even if they make no sense at the time — this develops your ability to be creative on demand.
Here’s what happened with Peggy:
- She completed her assignments in half the time she usually takes (because of easier communication between her right and left brain);
- She followed her creative impulses from her idea hunting, thought bigger, and repositioned herself, winning several new clients.
Her husband saw that Peggy’s business was growing, and then supported her fully.
Take a few minutes today, and switch brains
Then go idea hunting. If you’re having a challenge with your writing: if you’re attracting the wrong kind of clients, or are find marketing a challenge, or are falling behind and not meeting deadlines, devote several sessions of idea hunting to that challenge.
Be aware that you’ll tend to dismiss what will turn out to be your best ideas if you pursue them. This is left brain (inner censor) thinking. Your right brain will keep nudging you, until you pay attention. I’ve often told the story of my unwillingness to blog, over a decade and a half ago. I listened to writers who told me I was crazy to write “for free”, but my intuition kept pushing me, until I paid attention.
Have fun — idea hunting and gathering is fun. And it can change your writing life.
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