Monday, October 23, 2017

An Analytical Monster Lives Inside My Brain

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Have you ever taken those right-brain/left-brain tests? I was always somewhat frustrated to find that I was neither. I would lean ever so slightly towards right-brained on one test, ever so slightly left-brained on the next, and then the next would give me a strict 50/50. I have my runaway imagination side of my brain, and then I have my analytical monster.

My runaway imagination likes to dream. It likes to create. It likes to fly on the wings of fancy, soaring through new worlds. It liked to dominate in my childhood.

My analytical monster seeks to understand. It likes to break things apart, break things down, and make logical sense of them. It likes to analyze the life out of everything. It likes to dominate in my adulthood.

When I was a child, I wrote as a child. Whether it was alien invasions or orphan stories, I just wrote what I felt like writing, however I felt like writing it. If it was great, then awesome. If it was stupid, who cares? Writer's block wasn't really a thing because I had too many stories to tell and my analytical monster kept his sights on math and science.

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As I grew up, I learned more about writing. I learned how it works. I learned about story structure and point of view and genre word counts and themes and character development and plot points and outlining techniques and my analytical monster went "This is really cool stuff! I'm going to get in on the writing!" Cue a crashing halt.

Not completely crashing, I suppose, because my runaway imagination held out for a bit, but my analytical monster kept taking over more and more portions of my brain. Going "If I can outline your books like this, it will make writing easier." And "Just let me over-analyze this story and I'll tell you exactly what's wrong and how to fix it." And even "Let me analyze to death this aspect of your life and I promise it will finally make sense to you."

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But I say no more.

My analytical monster thinks it can write a story better than my imagination, but it can't. My analytical monster thinks it can be obsessed with following word count standards for my intended genre and audience and still churn out good writing, but it can't. My analytical monster thinks it can make logical sense out of matters of imagination and emotion and heart, but some things simply can't be reduced to logic. I'm telling my analytical monster to go back to math and science and leave creativity to my imagination.

Via Pinterest

That's why I'm not rushing eagerly to pick the Cassie story back up. I wrote it with logic, and it's really kind of terrible. I need to kick my analytical monster out of creating once and for all before I can overcome the logic-writing. And to a much lesser degree, the same thing applies to the Espionage sequel. The plot didn't come to me on a flight of fancy; it came to me on three years of hard work. I need to be able to dream about it, rather than telling my analytical monster to figure it out for me.

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That's why I decided randomly to try writing a new idea that popped into my brain writing off a dialogue prompt (the dialogue prompt somehow never managed to actually figure in). I jumped in after it percolated in my brain for about a day and a half, so chances are it'll fizzle, but here's my Pinterest board anyway. That's why I turned off the word counter on Word on my computer, so I wouldn't be constantly doing math as I wrote. That's why I'm purposing to kick out my analytical monster whenever he rears his ugly head. And if half my sentences start with my main character's name or a pronoun referring to her, what does it matter? That's what editing is for. That's the point in the process where my analytical monster can make himself useful. Let my runaway imagination (which I'm now thinking of as Emily because Beverly Cleary has a book I've never read called Emily's Runaway Imagination) have control as I dream up a brand new story, one told with emotion and imagination, things my analytical monster, for all his knowledge, can't even begin to explain.

An analytical monster lives inside my brain, but I will not let him win.


  1. I've been slowly letting my analytical side be more and more involved in my writing - but in a support role. Kendearia has the front seat, but Sandra is there to organize and break the project down into manageable pieces so that Kendearia doesn't get overwhelmed and run away. Because she's the flightiest thing.

    But I am a P and you're a J. I should probably show this post to V...

    1. Your brain works very differently from mine. Clearly.

      Hi, V!

    2. Our functions are all inverted from each other, so yes, clearly. ENFP vs INFJ.


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