Left = Plotter, Right = Pantser
Scientists long ago discovered a link between which side of your brain is more active compared with how you think and process information. They claim that a person who uses the left side more, is inclined to be more rational, use logic, ordered and systematic. And those that use the right side more are meant to be more creative, divergent and intuitive.
The validity of the link between creativity and brain hemisphere has since been up for debate. You can be creative and be more of a logical ‘left-brained’ person, as much as you can being an intuitive ‘right-brained’ person and be super creative. Read this article to find out more. This article points out that although, there are definite links to which side of your brain coincides with different functions, the entire creative process uses the entire brain. I think the important thing is to recognise is the metaphors we use to distinguish what kind of way you learn, and apply them to the writing process:
The Plotter is the ‘left-brained’ person, and write their book by organising their thoughts first.
The Pantser (flying by the seat of your pants) is the ‘right-brained’ person, and writes their book on intuition and impulse.
Despite whether or not you believe this link between the brain hemispheres and creativity is in fact true, the tests involved are designed to determine whether you are a more logical, or intuitive person. The tests may be able to help you figure out whether you are writing your book all wrong.
Try this …
If you feel like your hitting your head against a brick wall every time you write a book, maybe figure out which ‘side of the brain’ you use more and take a stab at writing in the method that matches. There are a number of tests on the interwebs that claim to be able to help you discover this.
Here are a couple of tests I’ve found across the web:
What happens if you use both sides equally?
For me, I’ve just discovered the best way to write a book – exactly fifty-fifty. Half plotting, then a bit of pantsing, then some more plotting, and so on. When I did the tests, I discovered I use my brain exactly fifty percent each side. Coincidence? Perhaps. I always thought because I was creative, that I was purely right-brained. But I wasn’t the case. When I adjusted my style of plotting, I discovered it worked better. I was less stressed and I spent less time finding a way to fit in with the norm.
Why don’t you try a test for yourself and see what results you get? I’m curious to know. Are you a left-brained plotter? Or a right-brained pantser … or a plantser like me? Or is this theory a complete waste of time? Either way, it’s worth a wonder.
**Feature image attributed to Mercedes Benz