#ThrowbackThursday – Right hand/left hand

It’s Thursday, which means I’ve looked into the archives of my old blog to bring you something I think might interest you. This week, I’ve been playing around with my new novel, but the beginning isn’t right – I think I’ve started it in the wrong place, and I’m not sure how to fix it. Then I remembered a technique I’ve used in the past that might help. 


 

This is my attempt at a useful post. I’ve moaned about mentioned my tendency towards writers block since this blog was born. And today I thought I’d talk about a method that really helped me with one story in particular. The story Omelette won third place in the inaugural Words with Jam short story competition a couple of years ago, so I feel confident in sharing this method with you. (And is now free to read on WattPad!)

What you do is swap the hand you normally write with!

That’s it. How easy!

This isn’t my invention – I read about it, but I can’t remember where.

The theory behind it is that writing with the wrong hand makes you concentrate much harder on the actual mechanics of forming the words on the page, which leaves your subconscious mind free to be creative.

Try this:

Start with the sentence When I was younger my favourite toy was…

Remember to write it with the wrong hand, and don’t analyse the content – that’s very important: don’t censor yourself!

When I tried it myself, I managed to pull out a long forgotten incident involving my mum, which actually had nothing to do with my favourite toy. It’s a great way to stop writers block in its tracks.

Part of Omelette written normally…
… and with my left/wrong hand

This technique helped me past a particularly difficult part of the story. Don’t be fooled by how neat my writing looks – I remember having to concentrate very hard!

 

Have you tried something like this before? Or even, just now? How did you get on?
 
 
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30 thoughts on “#ThrowbackThursday – Right hand/left hand”

  1. Hi Annalisa – just deleted my own comment, when I went back to read omelette! Good for you … my mother broke her wrist in Nov/Dec … and had to learn to use her left hand for so many things … cooking for 50+, writing Christmas cards … and using the mouse with her left hand. Me I prefer my comfort zone! But interesting how it worked out for you – 3rd place … cheers Hilary

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  2. That’s a neat trick… and also very neat writing for someone using their ‘wrong’ hand!
    I got bad RSI when I was doing my PhD and for 2 years wrote with the ‘wrong’ hand. Even given that, I’m not sure almost 20 years on, I could write so neatly as I did then and certainly not as neatly as you can! 😀

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    1. Don’t be fooled – each one of those letters took a few seconds to complete. I’ve had RSI in the past too, but luckily not bad enough to put my hand out of action for two years – you poor thing!

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  3. Interesting. As a leftie in a right-handed world I am accustomed to adapting all the time. My right hand writing isn’t too bad. It does make one slow down and think

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    1. My youngest used to do that. It was so interesting watching him, it was completely normal to him. I remember my mum trying to teach him left and right once – she asked, “Which hand do you write with?” and he replied “Both.” 😀

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  4. That’s an interesting concept. I haven’t tried that before, but I think I will the next time I’m stuck. Mostly what I do is just hand-write the scene in question over and over again, writing down any changes that pop into my head, until something sticks. Your way sounds much easier. 🙂

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  5. I rarely write by hand, but I can see how this might work. We’d be so busy trying to form legible letters we’d stop fretting over not having anything to write.

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  6. Isn’t it something to do with which side of the brain you use as well?
    Writing with the opposite hand seems weird, but then so did tying the first time I did that on an old Imperial typewriter at secondary school.

    Perhaps we should learn to write with both hands from an early age?

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  7. I actually had to write with the wrong hand only a couple years ago. Had an unfortunate run in with a knife that left my right middle finger splinted for two months. Yup. Months. I tell you what, I have never appreciated being able to button my own buttons more.

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