I was reading an article by Deb Schwartz in the June '10 issue of Real Simple magazine entitled Organizing for Your Personality which opens with this brief review of personality types:
"Right-brain types are visually oriented. They tend to think in images rather than words, focus on the big picture rather than the details, and go through life in a somewhat seat-of-the-pants (a.k.a. scattered) way. Left-brainers are those who think in words (attention, list makers!), do a lot of advance planning, and approach challenges in a rational, linear way."
Now when you consider the habits of writing's right-brainers (pantsers) and left-brainers (plotters) it makes a lot of sense why it's often so difficult for pantsers to plot and plotters to go organic. It's not laziness or paranoia, it's probably the way our brains are wired.
As a writer and a quilter I'm a classic lefty: disorganization makes me uncomfortable and unhappy; I work out and plan everything way in advance before I write a single word of story or make a single stitch, and I write/quilt from start to finish without deviation.
Now here's the interesting blip: as a photographer, a poet and a painter, I think I'm a righty. When I'm snapping pictures, writing verse or fooling around with watercolors I tend to be very spontaneous, play with compositions and colors, dwell more on an idea than the actual execution, and try not to plan too much in case I want to change things.
I think I know why I've got both sides of the brain engaged, too: I write and quilt for other people, but I take photos, write poetry and paint for myself. Also, outside influences like editors and quilt guild friends are usually somehow involved in the process with my writing and quilting, which I also sell. My other arts are strictly solitary, personal projects that I don't sell and other people rarely even see (and this is not to say why you guys might be righties or lefties, it's just why I think I evolved into an ambidextrous brained person.)
Btw, Deb's article has some helpful hints on how to organize your life based on the type of personality you have. I think most right-brainers already know they can't be happy compartmentalizing and labeling everything like the lefties, nor can the left-brained start making spontaneous collages and stack heaps of stuff in artful disorder like the righties. Still, I think there is always room for a little experimentation to see if you can get some fresh inspiration from the other side of your brain. I'm going to set up a cork board in the office so I can create a visual memento collage like one in the magazine. I think putting up some stirring images might give my creative batteries an extra charge before I sit down to work.
So what sort of writer or personality type are you? Righty, lefty, ambidextrous or somewhere in between?