Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write book cover

Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write

Publisher: HarperCollins
Website: http://www.harpercollins.com/

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A revolutionary approach to writing that will teach you how to express yourself fluently and with confidence for the rest of your life.

Offers advice on improving one's writing and editing skills, suggests useful exercises, and discusses writer's block, procrastination, revision, and techniques for generating new ideas.


Still going strong after more than 20 years, Writing on Both Sides of the Brain is considered a classic in the field. Now in its 27th printing, it is used in universities and colleges across the country as well as heralded by many writers who still find motivation and inspiration in its pages. Concepts apply to business writing as well, and will resonate with anyone who has to write as part of his or her job and hates it.


"The best book about writing I've come across. What more to say? I have had my copy for years and read it over and over again (and I am a professional writer). I buy it and give it as a present often. I'd recommend this book to any beginning writer, or anyone who needs a jump start now and again (don't we all?!)."
Reader, USA

" Life-changing. Literally and definitely life-changing! I had always wanted to write but simply could get nowhere. A mind full of ideas that would flow when on the freeway, in the shower, etc., would run dry in moments after my fingers hit the keyboard. Frustrating! Then I read Writing on Both Sides of the Brain and attended Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser's half-day seminar by the same name. That did it. I'm now an award-winning novelist (Turn Back Time and two other novels written with my daughter, Lisa Kay Hauser) and have four published children's picture books, with two more to be published this year and I get to speak in schools all across the nation. All of this in eight years. If you want to write but just can get moving or continue moving get this book! Put it in you shopping cart right away. Its practical insights, encouraging words, and how-to-do-it-now tips could bring you the deep satisfaction and rich rewards of being a person who can Put Your Heart on Paper. That last phrase is also the title of a book by Dr. Klauser. Happy and successful writing to you!"
Philip Dale Smith, Tacoma, WA

"Love this book! I'm a writer by trade, and I read this for the first time when I was still unpublished. I found it enormously encouraging, and it's still the book I go to when I'm tearing my hair out. It acknowledges how tough writing is, and it rewards you and me for the stumbling steps we take to get better at it. Plus, it gives us powerful weapons to use against that critical monster who lives in our brain! I recommend it all the time."
Reader, New York

"A delightful book on unlocking the creative genie in you. More than just a bag of tricks, this brief work shows the reader how to get control of his internal critic (left brain) so that the creative right brain can do its magic."
D. W. Harper, Huntsville, AL


Procrastination: Not Just Around, But Behind It

We've put it off long enough. It's time to talk about procrastination.

Procrastination is an ugly, pejorative word. It is a stick to beat yourself with, a kick when you are down. Inherent in the word itself is a moral judgment. The judge and jury have already met. The verdict is passed. You are guilty without appeal.

The cruel irony of procrastination is that it becomes what it sets out to condemn. As soon as we start beating on ourselves for procrastinating, we find ourselves even more lacking in drive, even less motivated to do the writing that needs to be done.

Demoralizing, life-sapping words like should and ought and can't start to reverberate in your head. You find what little energy you had draining away. And you promptly think of several more distractions to keep you from writing.

Procrastination paralyzes and then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Getting to the Root of It

Most advice about procrastination has a major drawback: it treats the symptoms, not the cause. Motivational tricks get you moving again; enticing reward act as a carrot on a string, but unless you figure out what made the writing mule balk in the first place, you will not go very far. Sure, you might get him going again, but if your have not figured out what he was afraid of, you do not know how to prevent it from happening further down the road. Soon the carrot trick does not work anymore.

I promised you I would change the nature of your relationship with writing permanently; in order to do that, you need to get behind the procrastination, not just around it, and find out what is causing it in the first place. Treat the cause and not the symptoms.

Resistance Has Meaning

I am always leery of absolutes. Myself, I never use them. Like Jane Austen's Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park, "I trust that absolutes have gradations." Yet there is one absolute I will always stand behind. Resistance always has meaning. When you find yourself reluctant to act, your body and your mind are trying to tell you something.

When you delve into the meaning behind whatever it is that you are resisting, you will discover that there are choices underlying the work stoppage, a payoff that makes not writing somehow more attractive than writing. You may be resisting completing a certain writing project because you don't want to face having your boss tear it apart.

Fighting Resistance Never Works

A funny thing happens when you fight resistance. It gets worse.

Do not fight procrastination. When you get into a power struggle, you often lose. Either you become either more paralyzed, or if you force yourself to write, in spite of a negative energy pushing you in the opposite direction, chances are you will produce turgid, plowing prose that is awful to read, certainly not your best work. When you write with your teeth gritted, what you write grits the teeth of your reader.

On the other hand, if you acknowledge procrastination, you do not need to dramatize it. It is not just a noticing, it is a letting go.

Rather than opposing force with force, overcome it by yielding. Move toward the procrastination, move with it. What does it have to tell you?

Perhaps you are starting to see that procrastination is not an outside force and you are not a helpless victim. Procrastination comes from resistance inside, and you can make choices. You are in charge. You can take command of the situation, move forward, and write. In the rest of this chapter, we will look at specific ways to get at the meaning behind your own procrastination.

When you are no longer encumbered by the psychological drain of procrastination, you will be free to do your best and most fluent writing ever.

Copyright © Henriette Anne Klauser, 1987. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Printed in the United States of America.