Journal Writing Sense: Writing From the Right Side of the Brain

by Amber Lea Starfire on December 18, 2010

catnav-journaling-activePost #22 – Memoir Writing, Journaling – Amber Starfire


Journaling, memoir writing

Journal Writing Sense: Writing from the Right Side of the Brain

When Betty Edwards published Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain, it was an immediate sensation because, for many of us, it answered questions about why some people seemed to be more creative and artistic while others were not.

The right side of the brain is associated with creative, non-linear, spacial and visual perception. It is nonverbal and intuitive. It is the part of the brain that perceives patterns and relationships — the whole picture. On the other hand, the left side of the brain is our rational, linear side. It deals with words and numbers.

We also know that when we use the right side of our brain (drawing being one of the main ways to do so), it improves our ability to connect the dots and problem solve intuitively.

Journal writing is verbal and linear in nature — we scrawl our thoughts across the page, word by word. Yet when we journal, we are attempting to access and express feelings and subconscious perceptions that may be elusive to the analytical mind. By nature, the process of writing itself is antithetical to intuitive expression. So how do we cross the bridge between the creative, intuitive mind and the verbal expression of it?

By drawing. Drawing engages the right side of the brain while relaxing the left side, allowing visual, emotional, intuitive expression. And when you draw, if only for a few minutes, it improves your ability to problem-solve, including your ability to understand and see into yourself.

I propose that incorporating a practice of drawing — for just a few minutes —  will increase the depth and creativity of your journaling.

But, I can already hear you saying, “Oh, but I’m not artistic. I can’t draw.”

And my response is, “We aren’t entering art contests here. No one but you will see your drawings. So who cares if you don’t make something look like something else?” The point of drawing is to engage the right side of the brain, giving you a chance of perceiving in new ways.

Try the following quick journaling exercises and see what happens:

Handwriting. Yes, handwriting is a form of drawing — line and form. Write a sentence about something you see. For example: “The light cascades through the trees and dapples the lawn.” Now, write the sentence again, concentrating on the form of the letters, the feel of the pen gliding from one letter to the next. Don’t think of the words as words, but as forms on the page. Rewrite the sentence, concentrating on line and form rather than the meaning, until you feel your mind is calm and relaxed. Sit for a few minutes with eyes closed. Then, picture in your mind a problem you want to solve or something you’ve been working on in your journal writing and free-write for ten to twenty minutes.

Doodling. Begin with circles. Fill a page with circles, large and small, overlapping and separated, connected, open, and filled. Draw a circle of circles. Next, play with spirals, lines, triangles and rectangles. Doodle shapes for five minutes. Then, as with the handwriting exercise, sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed, picture something you want to perceive more deeply, and free-write for ten to twenty minutes.

After trying the exercises above, what do you notice about your journaling? How did it change? Were you more intuitive and perceptive? Did you see something you hadn’t noticed before? I invite you to share you experience by leaving a comment below.

_____________________________

Image by Exper Giovanni Rubaltelli

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category