Do The Unfamiliar To Keep Your Writing Going

One of the best ways to blow someone's winning streak during a tennis game is to comment on how great they are doing. Your comment will kick in their left brain's inner critic which will zap their flow and change their focus. In tennis this is an underhanded type of gamesmanship.

In life, it happens to each of us all the time. Even writers.

In writing, the same thing occurs as soon as the right side of the brain, the right hemisphere, gets a break, the left side begins editorializing. Even if the left side compliments you on your progress or the time you committed, it still zaps the flow. Flow stops, hiccups, and the writing or idea doesn't get to the next step.

This is an event that affects us all in more than just writing.

There is not any particular timeframe when this occurs either. It may occur when writing something short, like an article, memo, or email. Or it might not occur until chapter six of your book. This is why the freewriting exercise works so well. It allows your right brain to tell the left side to shut up for particular amount of time.

There is actually only one way to get the writing flowing again. It is doing some thing unfamiliar. When you are doing something unfamiliar the left side doesn't know how to logically respond. The left side then can't be its helpful self. Flow, intuition, and ideas naturally return with a renewed rhythm.

Whenever I am trying to describe something, my logic side kicks in and brings the next action to a halt. The self talk begins to say, "How can any words describing this beautiful sunrise?" Since drawing isn't a familiar item for me, I pull out a few drawing pencils or a water color brush and play. The drawing isn't something I do often. If I did, it would then become familiar and that self would stop me. It doesn't take but a few minutes of doing something unfamiliar before the flow flourishes again and I am able to return to the description or writing.

Always remember, all the words we use in our first draft look like ordinary words. It isn't until later that their appearance changes to extraordinary.

The left self is always telling us that every day scenes or objects are just ordinary.. A mere beer bottle on the side of the road can receive a message, "So what." When we push the situation we usually ask, "How can I make this come alive?" By doing something unfamiliar in the mind or in some type of action can we release the right side to the freedom to find the words. Do so by seeing the ordinary. Describing the ordinary. At this moment you begin using both sides of the brain. I guarantee that whatever you write will never be ordinary. Extraordinary writing is ordinary writing practiced.

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Coach, specializes in infoproduct development.

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Opinion | Why I Write  The New York Times

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