Ambidextrous? You Should Be.
What does that word even mean? And why should you make this a priority?
To be ambidextrous means that you can write with both your right hand and your left hand. That doesn’t mean you can hold a pencil and scribble with your less-than-dominant hand.
But why does it matter? You’re getting along just fine writing your stories and signing your receipts with your right hand. As if you have time to train your left hand to pen a sentence.
What if you said that about typing? That you’re getting by chicken pecking the keyboard with one hand? You can’t imagine why you’d need both hands to type quickly.
What if I told you that what your writing needs is for you to be ambidextrous? In fact, I can tell you 3 ways why writing with both your left and right hand will change your writing for the better.
Increase Your Creativity
Let’s start from the beginning.
The hand that you use to write is attached to the opposite side of the brain. For the 90% of us that are right-handed, we activate our left brain where language, judgment, and intellect lie. For the other 10% left-handed writers (sadly, not me), you activate the right side of your brain where creativity is housed.
Good news for right-handed writers: writing with your left hand stimulates your creativity. So when you write left-handed, you’ll shape your characters, paint a story with your words, and find solutions for your plot. Writing with your left hand opens up possibilities for your story.
There’s still good news for those left-handed. Writing with your opposite hand trains our brain to use both sides, connecting reason with imagination. Your freelance articles and your fiction need a balance of both.
You read that right. There is research proving that musicians who play instruments with both hands increase the size of their corpus callosum by 9%.
The corpus callosum is the part of the brain that connects your right brain and left brain. The bigger this is, the easier it is to transfer information from one side to the other. That makes you better at processing and retaining intelligence.
So what does this have to do with your writing?
Being able to write with both hands is connected with your learning ability. By building up your ambidextrous coordination, you’ll be more willing to research your characters’ Civil War setting or try to comprehend String Theory that your main character is obsessed about. Not just that, you’ll be able to retain the knowledge beyond the quick moment of reading the answer on your smartphone (or at the library if you’re like me and still don’t own a smartphone).
Longer Writing Sessions
I’ll admit it: sometimes I stop a writing session simply because I have a hand cramp. I’m stretching out my thumb when all I want to do is keep the plot going.
When you can write with both hands, all you do is switch the pen to the other hand. Think how much further your story would be if all you had to do was go to your left hand to keep that story momentum going.
So am I ambidextrous? Sadly, no.
But I’m going to start my training. Baby steps though. I’ll brush my teeth and open doors with my left hand. When I’m skilled at that, I’ll pick up that pen or pencil and give it a shot.
Interesting post. I’d love to see read more about some of the studies (can you post links please?).
So what does this mean for those of us who generally only write by using a keyboard (and properly, with both hands)? Are we getting the best of both worlds? Or is this something that only matters when the mind is focused on the fine muscle control needed for handwriting and not muscle memory of typing.
I’m not a writer, so it probably doesn’t matter as much to me, but I imagine there are authors nowadays who solely write using a computer.
Very interesting. I’m left handed by the way.
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