February 8, 2012

Achieving Synthesis, Part Four: What’s Wrong with Direct Focus

Posted in Right Brain tagged , at 1:51 pm by Rebecca Hein

It’s logical to try to recapture something you’ve done well. Yet if you forget about it and focus on nothing at all, you’re much more likely to get it back. Additionally, it will probably combine with a new idea, thus propelling you even farther along.

Single-item focus, often identical to those attempts to recapture your best work, inhibits your right brain. The business of the right brain is synthesis: to combine, recombine, process, and invent the tools for the next stage of your artistic development.

It can’t do that if you’re trying to hang onto one of the many elements it’s working on. Thus, to help it do its best work, release all your ideas, all your plans, even all your hopes for a project, and know that this in turn releases your right brain to think. If you can really let it all go, you’ll be rewarded with that creative leap you’ve been looking for.

February 1, 2012

Achieving Synthesis, Part Three: Why Letting Go Works

Posted in Creativity, Right Brain tagged , , at 1:43 pm by Rebecca Hein

Recent cello practice sessions have begun with my realization that the best way to activate my right brain is to forget about what I’m doing while I’m doing it. “Forget about it” seems to deactivate the linear, literal left brain and encourage my intuition and imagination.

Before I know it, sensations of prior excellent playing come flooding back, and I float into the music and beyond. Totally immersed, I stay in that magic spot and play better yet.

Writers can do the same if they learn to trust the right brain. Why focus on one character, plot line, sentence, or paragraph, when the sensation of flowing words will automatically improve all these elements? The struggle for the right word or the perfect twist of plot vanishes as you quit trying to make anything work at all, and instead just write.

January 25, 2012

Achieving Synthesis, Part Two: Liberating the Right Brain

Posted in Creativity, flow in writing, Right Brain, writing techniques tagged , , , , , at 1:41 pm by Rebecca Hein

The right brain, if left alone, can do all we desire for our writing, and probably more. Since writing a novel, poem, play, or even just a short essay requires multiple levels of thought, the right brain is the best tool for the job. Able to process, combine, and recombine many ideas all at once, it will order our writing if we can just get out of the way.

I learned this first in cello playing, where letting go of conscious thought liberated my right brain to quickly access the memories I needed to achieve my best playing. To release conscious thought in your writing, you could try letting the energy of your project direct your words rather than the other way around. Or you could do a lot of freewriting, as an exercise in letting your mind wander. Either way, you’re likely to joggle your mind into a more relaxed approach, and that’s when you can expect new and better things to happen.

January 18, 2012

Achieving Synthesis, Part One: Understanding the Process

Posted in Creativity, Right Brain tagged , , at 3:22 pm by Rebecca Hein

I used to wonder why my cello practice sessions almost always went better when I made no attempt to build on what I’d learned the day before. Stranger yet, when I let go of the previous day’s gains, I usually remembered them and could put them to work.

Something similar happens when we become totally absorbed in our writing. Forgetting all our plans for procedure or plot, we just pour out the words and often achieve something better than if we’d worked by design.

Why does this work? Because we’ve found a way to activate our right brain—the seat of our imagination and our intuition.