Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Left Brain/Right Brain

By Annette Dashofy

About two decades ago, when I was operating my own photography studio (this was about the same time as when I was working retail at the photofinishing kiosk), I took a workshop from a New Orleans photographer whose name escapes me at the moment. What I do remember as clearly as that day was a visual he shared regarding our need as creative professionals to switch from right-brained thinking (creative) to left-brained thinking (business). He painted a mental picture of a toggle switch on the top of our heads that we must constantly click back and forth. He pointed to the top of his own bald pate and insisted that he switched back and forth so often that he had worn all his hair off.

Thankfully, I still have a full head of hair, but I learned what he meant. As a photographer, I had to switch into right-brain mode to make beautiful portraits of my clients and then switch into left-brain mode to sell the portraits with the hopes of showing a profit.

I suspect that many aspiring writers dream of a life locked into the right-side of their brain, writing and writing and more writing. Let someone else worry about that left-brained stuff.

(Cue hysterical laughter)

These days, having a marketing plan which includes blatant self-promotion, getting your name out there in print and online, anything to build a readership is vital. Why do you suppose all of us Working Stiffs are desperately trying to entertain you? Hmm?

Included in the time I devote to my writing career are hours spent keeping my blog and website updated, printing out business cards, which I hand out to anyone who makes the mistake of asking how the writing is going, and assorted other attempts at building name recognition.

Some writers hate standing in front of a room full of people and talking about their work. I kind of like it. Hey, I teach yoga. I frequently stand in front of a room of strangers in Downward Facing Dog pose wearing yoga tights. Standing upright in a business suit is a piece of cake. Of course, it would be more fun if I actually had something to market, but I’m working on it.

The left-brained task that I’m less fond of is the same task that everyone is going to be dealing with over the next few months.

Tax preparation.

I spent several days last week up to my armpits in tissues (no, I wasn’t weeping…I have a cold) and receipts. I’m usually more organized about these things, but I had to put a lot of time and energy into getting my mom and dad’s financial and legal matters in order this year, so my own bookkeeping fell to the wayside. Taking advantage of vacation days that I was too sick to enjoy, I clicked over to my left brain and sifted through a pile of receipts. Sadly, the income portion of the task took very little effort or time. (sigh) Maybe in 2007…

There are still a few numbers remaining to be crunched, but I’m confident that I have sufficiently tackled my left-brained chores for the moment. I now intend to flick that toggle-switch back to right-brain and return to writing, writing, and more writing.


Anonymous said...

Yes, new year, have to think about taxes. Ugh.

My Dad died of a heart attack a few days before taxes were due. I never thought it was a coincidence.

Hope you're feeling better, Annette. And congrats on getting your accounts in order! I see you don't have to go to extremes like my Dad did.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the advantages of being married to an accountant...

I much prefer right brain mode. I hyperventilate just thinking about getting up in front of people and talking.

Glad you're feeling better, Annette!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, guys. But this is the weirdest cold I've ever had. Yesterday, I thought I was over it, last night I was ready to go to the ER. This morning I'm back in recovery mode.

Yikes, Tory! Maybe being bleary-eyed and fuzzy-brained while getting ready for taxes is a good thing. I sure didn't have the energy to stress over it much.

Anonymous said...

Annette, make sure you're taking echinachea, zinc and vitamin C. It really helps!

Anonymous said...

I am also lucky enough to be married to an accountant. When I see how much I have to pay out in taxes compared with what I'm bringing, it's depressing.

Feel better, Annette. Ginger tea always does the trick for me.

Anonymous said...

Annette: I feel your tax pain and also the left/right dilemma. I find myself mired in left brain activity way too much of the time which may be why my right brain is tired.

I also don't mind standing up in front of people but I DO hate selling myself. I'm really very shy and self promotion is hard.

As to your cold. Saline mist often helps break up the end of a cold. If not call the doc.

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Annette, make sure you're taking echinachea, zinc and vitamin C. It really helps!