Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Time to Heal

I tore a tendon (I think) in my wrist a month or so ago, which made my work - writing, teaching online, grading, editing - incredibly difficult. I kept my hand as idle as possible for a while, which helped.

In the past few weeks, however, I've been on the computer even more than usual, trying to makeup work that was lost when my computer was stolen. I got a few gigs doing contract work, techincal writing, which will help pay bills (yay!) but also adds to my computer time. So in the midst of all this typing, my hand and wrist began to ache and swell again. I really think I need to stay off this hand and wrist altogether, but I refuse to stop writing in any capacity.
Illustration by Christopher J Shanahan

I'm doing my best to work left-handed, and this brings me to my reason for this post. Writing left-handed (my non-dominant hand) is tough, but I've been doing it. The strange thing is, the slowing down of the process is proving oddly beneficial. With the slowing comes frustration, sure, but also a more intentional, carefully-worded first draft when it comes to my creative work (which no torn tendon will keep me from).

This is the sort of thing that takes energy and dedication, not to mention time, but I suggest it as an exercise: try writing, or even typing, with you non-dominant hand. I recomend starting with something really short. But try it. It's a strangly beneficial exercise. There's science to support the fact that ambidexterity is benefical in that it stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, which makes a person more adaptable and better at sports (I could stand to have a little more coordination, believe me). Although the left hemisphere is responsible for language function, the right hemisphere is responsible for spatial abilities, music and visual imagery (yes, I minored in psychology): all functions that can work to heighten the artistic output on the page.

We'll see how this goes... If you try it, let me know how it works for you.


  1. Sorry to hear about the injury. Glad to hear that you're getting back to accomplishing some work though. I am so useless with my non-dominant hand that it's not even funny. I don't want to even think about writing with it. Truthfully, It'd probably be easier for me to dictate to a speech to text program.

  2. Thanks, Conor. I'm actually looking into that software. Anything to get the creative fix :)

  3. I had a similar experience some years ago--that changed my approach too. It seems to reveal, in real time and very concretely, the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. There are applications for other aspects of creativity as well. Thank you for the fine post. Peace and continued good things for you in writing and in life.

    Diane Solis


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