Writing without the head

Hi there

The question might be a little strange but…

Has any of you tried to write without the head interfering. To block off all planning and judging and just put one sentence after the other down. In other words block of the left brain for any lenght of time.

Writing one sentence, without any knowledge about what the next one will bring.

Im interested to know if one can cultivate a purely rightbrain writing.
And do you have valuable material from it.
Can you do it by will.
Is it a state you come into after many hours of writing.


Yeah, I do that a lot, actually. What comes out is pure gibberish that’s likely to get me thrown into the nut-house if anyone reads it, but it seems to stimulate my writing for some strange reason.

There’s actually a term for this, but I can’t for the life of me remember it…


If you’re unsure which side of your brain is dominant – or whether you shift from one to the other – there’s an image at the above site which claims to show you instantly. I looked at the thing and realized immediately that I was left-brained… except that within five seconds – according to the test – I had switched to right brain. (It’s a spinning figure, and you’re asked to decide in which direction she’s spinning.) Aha! I said, this is bogus. The figure is simply programmed to reverse direction at random intervals. I continued watching, and continued believing the thing was reversing itself now and again, until Lady Of The House stopped by to see what I was doing. She watched a moment, and agreed that, yes, the figure does reverse.

However: She would report it spinning clockwise while I was sure it was spinning the other way; she would report it changing direction when I was sure it hadn’t changed a bit.

Clearly, it indicates SOMETHING that is going on in our heads. Whether it’s RB/LB or something else, I don’t know. I’ve tried watching and forcing it to reverse, but can’t seem to identify the triggering brain activity. Glad to hear a suggestion, if anyone has one.

And no, I’m not wearing the tinfoil hat at the moment.


Thank you Phil

Nice site you point to.

I could only see her turning clockvise, so acording to that I must be rightbrained.

Have just been on the bike for 20 miles. Maybe my left brain is blown off at the moment.

I have also been wondering if stearing at stereopictures would activate the right brain, when you experience the 3D. There is a certain peace of mind state when you do it.


She was turning clockwise. I really can’t see how anyone could think she was turning counterclockwise - it was just like watching a clock spin, plain as day. No matter how long and hard I stared at it I couldn’t even begin to fathom how it could be seen as counterclockwise. Can other people really see her going the other direction? Weird.

Eh, yeah, same here. I must be intensely right-brained, because I cannot see this as being anything other than clockwise. I can usually see all “sides” of an optical illusion, but this one? Nope! It would be illogical (ha) to see it as spinning widdershins!

That is cool… I saw clockwise too, and like Amber and Khadrelt I couldn’t see how it could be seen as anti-clockwise at all… But then I realised that it’s a silhouette so there you never know which way it is really facing; you are just making an assumption. The points at which you assume it is facing towards you or away from you will depend on whether you assume it is going clockwise or anti-clockwise. It took a lot of concentration, but eventually I made her turn anti-clockwise. After a bit of practice I can just about make her turn either way… But it hurts my brain… And I always see it as clockwise when I first glance at it. So, it looks like I’m right-brained. Funny, I expected to be left-brained.

Oh, and as for the writing without thinking… There is a method called “spinning down the page” which is quite fun and productive. Basically you just write what comes into your head about a scene without any punctuation in very short phrases, which you can then use as a basis for a scene later. I was sceptical, but it does work quite nicely.


Aye! Likewise. I tend to be analytical and structured—but I guess now that I think about it, I do both of those in a rather highly spatial, consistently dynamic way—especially internally. I’m always frustrated that I cannot externally represent complex internal thoughts, because I think in massive three-dimensional complexes of relationships. Paper is fast, but too static, and software is generally too clumsy!

Funny. For a long time she turns clockwise - all of a sudden switching to counter-clockwise. And then I cannot make her change direction.

However, there is an easy way to make her switch from clockwise to counter-clockwise: I just have to read the description on the left :slight_smile:


Clockwise. Of course it’s clockwise. So I can go read the text now, right?

Oh wait, she’s going counterclockwise. How could I have thought she was going clockwise? Or maybe they changed the animation on me? Oh well, finish reading the article.

And now she’s back to clockwise… After playing with it awhile, I got so I could change directions pretty much at will. Look away from the image, do a mental shift, look back.

(No I can’t explain the mental shift. I’m not sure what I did to change perception, but I know I did something. Hmmmm… FWIW, it’s similar to a shift between internal and external focus that I do in martial arts sometimes.)


Wow. And here’s me, where the first time I looked I saw nothing but COUNTER-clockwise, and proceeded to stare until my eyes watered.

Applying my (apparently over-analytical) brain to the problem, I realized the best focus point for shifting perspective is her foot. The one close to the ground. Stare at that, decide which direction you want her to move, and away she goes. It took a moment to get my brain to “forget” her prior actions at the moment the foot is pointing left or right (i.e. is the foreshortening forward or backward), but eventually it worked. That’s my mental trick, anyway.

I’m currently amusing myself by having her pivot back and forth whilst facing me, never letting her finish her rotation.

It switches for me, too. I could sometimes get it to switch when closing one eye or when my gaze would go to the words on the left. Not sure what it means at any given time, but it’s a kick to watch it as it changes.

Thanks for posting that. :slight_smile:

As to writing without knowing the next sentence, I do that all the time when writing fiction. I’ll even rearrange a sentence unconsiously until it ‘feels’ right. Not an intellectual thing at all, it’s a feeling. I will say that it took me a while to learn to, first, even know that feeling existed, and secondly, to pay attention to it, and thirdly, to - in essence - surrender to it.

This is different from what’s called freewriting, imo, because with fiction I’m - again, in essence - transcribing the image in my head, while with freewriting I usually am not concentrating on an image so the words are more random or conversational.

I could get it to spin either way at my command.

The tinfoil hat made no difference either.

I just think its an optical illusion and has no relevance to brain theories.

But then I am churlish.


I remember reading somewhere that the side of your brain you process an image with depends primarily on which side of your field of view an object is in. Not which eye; which half of both eyes’ combined picture.

So I tried looking at the animation and moving my focus first to the left and then to the right of it and she does seem to change direction fairly consistently for me.

Anyone else getting that?

Ha! I finally got her to switch directions. It made my eyes hurt, though. I had to focus really intently on her lower foot to do so.


Dont look at the lower foot, look at the its shadow and you`ll see her change direction, as often as she probably changes her mind.


You guys are all nuts!!!

She is poised and standing perfectly still.

It has nothing to do with right and left brain - it depends on whether or not you are on dial-up or broadband.

I am on dial-up.

Maybe I’m just a well balanced kid.

Yuk! Yuk!

Loved this exercise…

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

My Lord Lighning,

Sire, I too, see no movement. My previous post was just to indulge the feeble fantisizings of the peasantry. In fact I see the proper image, not the silhouette, and, as the good lady wife pointed out, “She`s a dead ringer for that bimbo you were dating when I met you”.

C`est la Vie, Sire,

Your humble servant,

Good to see that you put her in a spin Vic! I dunno, welders and hot rods… :wink:

Touche! Judders you old Beast touche!

Your way with words is becoming as slick as mine. But, nonetheless: true!

Welders are a breed apart; our animal magnetism is dangerously irresistible to females of all ages, but fortunately, tempered with the gentlemanly charm, kindness and consideration of the thoroughbred true-blooded Englishman. But, as you so rightly put it "Welders and their Hotrods` (’:twisted:’)
Take care,

White hot Vic.