Have you ever wondered ‘How does writing affects us?’
You know you’ve been writing too long when the words on the screen begin to blur.
You’ve written and rewritten the same sentence ten times.
Your hands are aching and cramping up.
Your neck and back are stiff and achy.
You should have stopped two hours ago but you were on a roll.
And now you’ve paid the price. And you’d do it again.
Nothing a good night’s sleep and some stretches won’t fix right?
Aching muscles, poor posture and eye strain are one thing that we endure as we write. But what else happens when we write? What other parts of us are affected? Is it positive or negative? I endeavored to find out.
How writing affects our brain.
Most of the work of writing happens upstairs. It’s a no-brainer. (Pun intended!)
You’ve probably heard that the right brain is creative and the left brain is more logical, to put it simply. Whilst that’s true, when it comes to writing, both parts of our brain need to be working together, even when reading.
Neuropsychologist Jenni Ogden Ph.D explains this in a compelling article in Psychology Today about her writing journey and the mysterious ways the mind works while creating stories.
Neurorelay.com give a more detailed explanation. For example, if we are listening to a story and hear something like ‘her stinky feet’ our sensory section of our brain lights up. Our brain reacts as if we are experiencing the story first hand. Telling a story can implant emotions, thoughts and ideas into the audience which is why we enjoy reading and/or writing a good book so much.
So what do we do with such information?
Knowing our left and right hemispheres are working together on a manuscript can help balance out our story elements, such as too much description or too little dialogue.
When we write, we want to elicit emotions, especially sympathy for the main character. Knowing how our writing affects people on a physical level can help us craft unforgettable stories, with carefully placed descriptions and emotive language that give readers such an emotionally connected experience that they keep coming back for more.
“This gives us the incredible power to influence readers- activating their brains, making them feel as if they are in the story.”
Is writing a positive or negative experience for us?
If you answered yes to both, then you’re right. It is both positive and negative, but are they in balance?
Let’s look at both sides.
- Helps improve our memory when we write things down.
- Use of both sides of our brain.
- Helps reduce stress by getting it out of our heads and onto the page.
- Has similar effects on our mind as meditation. Slows breathing and de-stresses.
- Sense of accomplishment by getting writing done.
- Improves our mood (when it goes well).
- Can be an escape from normal life.
- Your skills improve.
‘Writing is therapy.’
- Sore muscles, eye strain, headaches.
- Can forget the outside world.
- Neglect of friends, family.
Okay, so there’s not many negatives which is very positive! Although negatives can vary for each writer.
‘Without struggle, there is no progress.’
As for the negatives, there are many ways to improve.
- Setting a time limit and stretching regularly so you don’t get sore.
- Distancing yourself from your current WIP so you don’t get so frustrated.
- Set an alarm or reminder to connect with others or ask someone to bring you back to the normal world.
- Make time for family and friends as well as writing. Let them know how important it is to you and hopefully they will help you stick to it.
How has writing affected you? What can you do to improve? What has/hasn’t worked before?
I hope there are more positives than negatives for you dear writer.
Don’t forget to check out my author page www.lezaodowd.com.
If you found this post helpful or if I’ve missed any positives or negatives, please comment below.