I have always admired people who can write, hold down a job, care for children, do marketing and wield a vacuum cleaner while apparently staying sane and cheerful. Sadly, I’m not one of them. I may be female, but I’m no multi-tasker. I’m more like a serial monogamist who can only concentrate on one, maybe two things at a time.
For me, family has always been THE top priority, so twenty-odd years ago I’d do technical writing during my daughter’s naps, and when everyone else was asleep.
Juggling family and writing worked back then because I was writing about real things that could be approached in neat, logical chunks, all left-brain stuff. However when I began writing fiction, I discovered that the process of creating characters and worlds is very different. Creative writing is a right-brain activity, and I’m naturally a left-brain type of person. Continue reading “Walking the Tightrope Between Work and Writing”
My day job is kicking my butt. Or rather, it is kicking the right side of my brain. After hours filled with schedules and multi-tasking and spreadsheets — oh, the spreadsheets — my creativity is bruised and submerged. I make time to write but the stories won’t come. I walk to free my mind and end up solving budget problems. I start to write, anything just to be writing, but the words are all surface babble, self-conscious, and not creative at all. I go to bed in hopes the characters will break free in my dreams, but I fall asleep with visions of spreadsheets lying flat.
The left brain is a big bully, and I’d like to shut it off and bring back my right brain from exile, but the truth is, both sides are always talking to each other. Research from Australia (Pettigrew, 2004) shows that the human brain naturally switches dominance from left to right and back (or logical to sensory, detailed to holistic) about eight or ten times every minute. For mathematicians, this switch rate can be as low as two times per minute, giving their logical brain near full dominance. On the flip side (get it?), Buddhist monks who have spent years practicing meditation can sustain dominance of the sensory brain for several minutes at a time — something most mere mortals cannot do. Continue reading “Switching Brains”