Which Way Do You Lean? (Day 87)

(Photo credit/caption: Wired Magazine: Revenge of the Right Brain by Amber Case on flickr.com. Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age – ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion. By Daniel Pink. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)

My mind leans right. In a big way.

When somebody asks me a personal question, my instinct is to dodge, but not because I don’t want to or don’t  know how to answer.

I tend to hold back because over time, I’ve learned that the first thing out of my mouth becomes the thing that the questioner grabs ahold of, takes to be my answer, and uses to formulate his or her response. That first answer, though, rarely is the actual answer. If I keep talking, I will probably arrive upon the answer that I already know in a non-verbal way, but by the time I get there, the listener has usually stopped listening. If I’m answering a question I’ve been asked before, I will get there faster, but still, rarely will my answer be immediate.

Writing is one way I am able to translate what I know in a non-verbal way into something clear and understandable. But even when I write, I rarely write once and put it out in the world. I want my words to communicate my meaning clearly and I rarely get it right the first draft.

I have a friend who writes a terrific blog and never edits. My first thought when she told me this is that she was exaggerating, but when I thought about it, I realized that she probably doesn’t edit. She is far more left-brained than I am and probably processes information in a logical, language-based way compared to my more sensory-based processing, which means she’s already got her words at the ready when she begins to write. I usually have a few words as starting off points, words that usually get edited out after I’ve written the complete piece.

Earlier today, I told my husband that the tough thing about having a daily blog is that there is so much that I can’t write about because many of the things that impact me moment to moment are not things I want to share with the world. They are private.

After I told him that, I decided to blog about this lump of something that’s been nagging at me all day, the thing I had to say that I suggested was too private to share. What I realized was that only some of it was too private to share and I knew that if I started writing, I would figure out which parts to include and which to keep out. And if I didn’t catch it in the writing, I’d catch it in the editing.

For a moment after my friend had said that she never edits her blog posts, I thought about how she must be so much smarter than me AND so much of a better writer. While she is smart and does write beautifully, I don’t believe that she has a leg up on me because she can say what she means as soon as she puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and I need to edit my writing before it is audience-ready.

Everything about our blogs is different: what we write about, how we write about it, and the types of writers we are. Our blogs serve different purposes and while we might have some crossover audience, our readership is probably pretty different, too.

When I was young, I spent an inordinate amount of time fighting myself to learn how to speak off the top of my head easily, without preparation. I also tried to write brilliantly on the first try.  In the process, I became so discouraged that I decided I could never live out my dreams to write and speak publicly.  Now that I am older, I realize that what makes my writing and speaking style unique is not only what I create but how I process the information both in my head and on the page.

It’s so obvious, but each of us has to learn our lessons over and over until the truth sticks. Once I relaxed and accepted the kind of writer/speaker that I am, I was finally able to let go of my feared deficiencies and put my energy toward living out my dreams.











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