I started writing with my left hand about a month ago.
It began as a drawing experiment.
I wanted to learn to draw, but found it hard to get into the right state of mind. I was rushing everything I drew. I was having difficulty turning off my left brain. It was and always has been far more active than my right brain. I needed a way to turn on my right brain.
Pseudo-science side-note: you use your right brain to draw and your left hand is connected to the right side of your brain.
When I started to use my left hand it felt like I was itching the right side of my brain. I don’t know the science behind it, but I was definitely triggering something which hadn’t been triggered in a long time. I could feel the effects in my body. Places that were tense, loosened up.
I noticed the difference in focus when I was drawing. I stopped being concerned with how straight the lines were and instead gave more attention to the object I was drawing. I was less concerned with making mistakes and more concerned with seeing properly.
When I got bored of drawing, I switched to writing.
I instantly noticed a difference.
The biggest difference was how much fun it was to write this way. It felt like I was learning to write again. I was transported back to elementary school. I wasn’t worried about finding the right words. I wasn’t worried about whether what I was writing was any good or whether it was of any value to a person. Instead, it was all about the process of writing something (anything) with my left hand.
I think it’s time for some bullet points. Readers like bullet points, right?
Here’s everything I’ve learned so far from my left hand experiment:
1. It’s hard to write with your wrong hand.
There’s a paradox here. Since the act of writing itself is harder, it’s actually easier to get something written. It’s easier to find the words to write.
2. Writing with your wrong hand is hilarious.
You feel like a child. You have very little control over the tidiness of what’s being written. Your opposite hand is probably doing a dance of it’s own that you also have no control over. If you are having trouble enjoying the process of writing, try doing it with your wrong hand.
3. You become a better writer.
Well, you evolve as a writer at least. When you evolve you tend to get better.
4. You write slower.
It’s impossible to write fast when you’re using your wrong hand. Really though, you end up writing at an optimal pace for thinking. You have just enough time to think of what word should come next, but not enough time to over think it.
5. You write longer.
Since you’re itching the other side of your brain, writing feels good. Since the writing feels good, you keep on doing it. You don’t care that you have nothing to write about and just want to continue writing no matter what you’re putting down on the page.
6. When you look back at what you’ve written, you’re pleasantly surprised.
You may even like what you’ve written. This is probably because you’re less attached to what was written. Your writing has become less subjective. When you look at the writing, it doesn’t even look like you wrote it. Plus, since you’re writing more, whatever you write becomes a smaller drop in a larger bucket.
7. You have a new motivation and measure for the quality of your writing.
You’re no longer just concerned with what you’ve written, but how well what you’ve written looks. You’re just trying to make sure you stay within the lines. You could even say that you now have a renewed purpose for writing, which means that you will do more of it, which in turn, again, means that your writing gets better.
Look at that! I’ve managed to include an odd numbered list in a blog post and in the process came up with a catchy title which has it’s promise fulfilled within the post.
It seems like the primary reason to learn to write with your wrong hand is the same reason to start a blog. It will motivate you to write more. And that’s how you get better.