Notes from the 2008 LDStorymakers Conference
Workshop: Creating Your Inner Writing Team
Presenter: Carroll Morris
Submitted by: Lee Ann Setzer
I attended Carroll Morris’s session, “Creating Your Inner Writing Team.” Carroll, who co-authors the “Company of Good Women” series with Lael Littke and Nancy Anderson, reviewed the special strengths of the right and left brains, reminding us that no one is all right- or left-brained—it’s not like the non-dominant side is “filled with packing peanuts!”
We’ve heard plenty about brain dominance in the last twenty years, but a couple of points impressed me. One was that the left brain—she called it the Project Manager and the Inner Editor—is naturally active, aggressive, and demanding, while the right brain—the Creative Dude—is naturally passive and accepting. So the Inner Editor demands to be heard, while the Creative Dude, when ignored or put off, shrugs and wanders away.
She also emphasized that all the voices in our heads are there to protect and help us. The Inner Editor tries to keep us from making mistakes that might hurt us, while the Creative Dude is constantly “googling the environment,” noticing pieces of important information, forming impressions, and coming up with ideas. She briefly addressed those other voices as well, mostly left-brain residents, like the frightened child who’s afraid of rejection and the spoiled brat who wants to goof off.
Carroll helped us relax and guided us to visualize our “inner writing team,” starting with our inner writing area. We invited each member of the team into the room, one at a time. We had a firm chat with the Inner Editor, expressing gratitude for all its help but asking (it? him? her?) to please take a break when Creative Dude needs to share ideas. Then we invited Creative Dude to share anytime, and we promised to listen. The project manager, the frightened child, and the spoiled brat all got some attention. Each inner voice promised to help—after all, they only want what’s best for us!
Maybe I’m a little remedial here, but it hadn’t occurred to me the those voices in my head were on my side. Focusing on them one at a time and acknowledging their contributions gave me energy and some new optimism. The last couple of days, I’ve been more successful at turning off the Inner Editor (or rather, sending her on a well-deserved vacation) and inviting Creative Chick’s ideas. Thanks, Carroll!
Lee Ann Setzer
5 thoughts on “Storymakers: Creating Your Inner Writing Team”
Man, I wanted to be at that class.
A new book, Welcome to Your Brain, refutes the traditional understanding of the two sides of the brain. (The book is written by two neuroscientists.) They basically said that, while some aspect of brain dominance are true, the majority of it is baloney and old-wive’s tales. (For example, the book explains how the left side is extremely creative as well, and is where storytelling is derived.)
That said, I’ve never understood why it really matters which side of your brain you’re thinking with. You have a creative part and logical part–does it matter which side they’re on?
Of course it matters, Rob. Left brain controls right hand. Right brain controls left hand. What normal child counts to five on the fingers of the right hand? That is so not logical and it’s been proven to cause a mental anomoly known as over protective parenting psychotic maladjustment disorder. If your son is left handed steer him into accounting. If your daughter is right handed piano lessons. And what about painting lessons for the kids? Rembrandt, Michael Angelo, Vango were all right handed. What are we trying to say here? Brain dominance has pretty much fueled the rise in child piano lessons, art classes, special athletic conditioning courses, math camp, chemistry camp, sports camp, fat camp, and self-esteem camp. Don’t bunk the theory Rob. Do you really want to be the one that has to explain to a bunch of piano teachers specializing in right handed children why the student pool is drying up?
What do you do if the child is ambidextrous? Wake me when its over!
David G. Woolley
I’ve also heard that if a child is born left-handed and his mother was left-handed, that child is more likely to be creative than a right-handed child. So, what does that mean?
Regardless of whether it’s actually right brain/left brain, there are definitely different voices in your head that can aid or impede your work. Recognizing each of them and knowing how to work with them is very freeing.
Sounds like a great class; would have loved to attend that one.
…Annette, please tell Rob that hearing voices is symptomatic of some pretty serious mental illness. That’s why all novelists are just a little crazy.
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