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Are you using both your brains in writing? Editor's Notes #90
September 30, 2010

Just as two heads are better than one
for solving problems,
so two brains are better than one
when it comes to writing naturally.

--Gabriele Rico

In this issue:

1. Writing with two brains
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Future issues

1.Writing with two brains
Gabriele Rico, whose quote opens this issue, does an excellent job of helping writers to use the two sides of our brains well. It is not news to most of us that we need both the right and left hemispheres of our brains at different times. If you are like I am, you can never remember which side does what, so you may prefer Rico's terms.

She calls the left side the Sign mind. That's the part of our brains that is logical and sequential. She calls the right side the Design mind. That's the part of our brains that deals with complex images and patterns.
The problem many writers have is to know exactly what to do and when with each side.

In school many of us were told to begin with an outline, marshaling our Sign mind right away. Rico suggests that we start with the Design mind, mining the complexity and patterns deep within.

One way to release both minds to do their own work at the right time is to use the art of clustering. Look at the clustering examples from Rico's Web site at (You may need to copy and paste URL into your browser window.)

When you create a cluster, it is important to stay with the activity until you feel an aha! Trust me on this. It always comes. Suddenly you will feel a sense of direction for your writing.

If you wait for the aha, you will write with power from a deep inner reservoir. If you are too hasty, your writing will remain dull even if it is technically correct.

Once the aha has come, begin to write. You will notice that parts of your cluster simply fall away in importance while other parts may become a whole new topic in themselves. You will also notice that you have written something worthwhile even if you felt no inspiration when you began to create the cluster.

You can try this exercise on any topic. If you can't think of a topic, here are some suggestions:
  • write
  • fly
  • time
  • red
  • stuck
Since we have two brains, it is worth our while to learn to use both well.


2.Tickled my funnybone
Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years at Checkout Counter


3. Interesting Web site
I love and use Gabriele Rico's book Writing the Natural Way. Her Web site offers many free insights for writers.


4. Future issues
The next three issues will deal with writers' Web sites, the self-publishers' survey, and finally a return to a general writing topic.


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