Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Which Lane Do You Write In?

I stumbled across another theory as I was driving my commute back home from work yesterday. I am a left-lane driver. Yes, I probably do go too fast most of the time. I just have issues being behind someone for very long. I also don't like the view or feeling stifled or stuck.

Plus, my epiphany came in the left lane.

Photo by Ben McLeod

I think which lane you drive in has something to do with personality. Now you right-laners can get upset with me or agree with me, it won't matter. It's just a theory and thus may not hold water. Regardless, I'm going to do some personality generalizations.

I think right-lane drivers are the type to observe rules, not try their limits or test tried-and-true methods, possibly lean more toward Type A (although I'm Type A...I never said this was a perfect theory) and introversion. The right-laner looks at the left-laner and thinks, "They're so reckless."

Left-laners are more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, to heck with the rules (quite literally), extroverted, Type B, rule-snubbers, possibly even looking down on right-laners as they cruise on by them, thinking, "They're so boring."

Hopefully I won't get flogged...but these were just some thoughts I had while driving. (The old guy in the Dodge honestly didn't need to be on the road, people. Seriously.)

So...how does this relate to writing? I'm thinking it might be the same! Those in the right lane probably go at a more sedate pace, knocking out their daily word counts every day. Fairly structured writing routine. Left-laners are far more likely to have marathon typing sessions on a weekend where they go into the wee hours and knock out 5000 words like nobody's business. Right-laners probably have the outline all ready to go while left-laners make it up as they type.

Q4U: Is this remotely accurate? For the sake of research, let me know in the comment section which lane you drive in and whether it fits your writing style.

Wordle: signature

21 comments:

Katie said...

First - I loved the title to this blog. Very interesting.

I am most definitely a left-lane driver. I am most definitely extraverted and my husband and I are both very impulsive... very random people. But what type of writer am I? Well, I am insane about an outline... as you know. My outline for Velvet borders on OCD. I usually set goals for myself and write each day (some in the morning, some in the evening). However - this has changed now that I have Brogan. Before Brogan I would have major marathon writing days. I can't anymore - not with a 6 month old to look after. So... does your theory work? I'm not so sure. At least not on me. But it's very intersting to think about!

I won't flog you. But I might pinch you at the conference. Or I might call you that name I shall not type on here. ;)

Katie said...

Ah - but one more thing. I do laugh in the face of rules when it comes to my rough draft. But I try to respect them during revision. How I hate the rules sometimes!!

Jessica said...

Ooh, that's SO interesting. LOL
My hubby likes to stay in the left lane, cut around cars, etc. He's def. a rulebreaker.
I'm a little different. I'm not a right lane driver or a left lane one. I'll go in the right lane to let people pass me or if there's no one else there. But my hubby often accuses me of switching too often. He says "Stay in ONE lane." LOL!
This is very funny to me, because I've always considered myself an introvert. But when I went to this woman's thing with my friend the other night, my friend said I was like the speaker, a subjective extrovert.
Which kind of made me start questioning who I am.
This just ices the cake of introspection. LOL! I love it.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Personally, I think it has more to do with confidence. My hubby is a left laner because he's a very confident driver. I'm a right laner because quite frankly, driving scares me even after driving for nearly 30 years with only one minor accident. I pray for safety angels every time I get behind the wheel.

But interesting theory, Jeannie!

Ralene said...

Hmmm...interesting theory. :) I am a rule-follower, for the most part. Driving and writing are the two areas where I am a rule-breaker! I prefer the left lane, an have been accused of having a lead foot. Must be the extrovert in me.

On the other hand, my hubby is also a left lane driver, but he is a big introvert. Although, he is also a rule-breaker, so that's probably why. lol...

Good stuff to think about!

Wendy said...

What an inventive theory. :D

Okay here's my read on myself:
I'm right-lane with kids in the car...and left-lane all the way when I'm by myself. I'm not only just left-lane while alone, I'm left-lane, music turned all the way up, foot dangling from the window...etc.

I like your theory and think it holds water with how I write.
~ Wendy

PatriciaW said...

I have a long commute with a lot of traffic. I drive in whatever lane is necessary to get me there in the least amount of time, like when I scoot from the far left to the far right at one point because the right lane has a merges with an entrance lane, and for some reason this seems to scare people so they stay away from the right line. Always gives me about a mile of clear driving before I'm back in traffic. Go figure.

Wouldn't the rule followers be Type Bs and the daredevils be Type As?

Jennifer Shirk said...

Uh, you COMPLETELY nailed me.
(I'm typically a right lane driver)

Zzzzzzzzzzz :)

Jill Kemerer said...

Uh-oh! I think I may need therapy! I drive in BOTH lanes (not at the same time!). I'm super-high energy, but also very structured. Maybe it's a disorder?

And I'd love to hear your theory on radio volumes in the car. Mine is always really loud...

Fun post!

Cindy said...

What a fun post! That's a tough question, though. As far as time spent writing, I'm a left-laner. I don't adhere to a specific word count each day, I have marathon writing sessions. Sometimes I'll finish a book in just over a week and sometimes it will take me six months. Totally unpredictable. But as far as content in my stories, I am definitely a right-laner. I think I can be kind of predictable. I am just now realizing the exhilaration of swerving (bad word choice maybe) into the left lane. Of pressing the gas a little harder.

Jeannie Campbell said...

good...no public floggings. :) interested reading everyone's preferences so far....i love that some fit the theory to a tee and others don't fit at all. like i said...just a theory. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I normally ride the right lane--yes pretty rigid and at ease with that side. Structured with my writing with all the rules but am learning to let go--shift into the left lane and fly by the seat of may pants a little more!

Tess said...

How funny the workings of your therapist-mind are:)

I'm a left laner - unless someone has moved into the left lane and insists on going 64mph. Then I'm a right laner for just long enough to pass!

Liana Brooks said...

I'm a recovering-Type-A Left Lane driver. I don't write in marathons, but I'm not very good about maintaining a word count either. I write what I want to when I want to.

I try to write every day. But it may be 100 words or 5000.

I'm not very good with outlines. I know what's in my head and I write that and see what happens. I only outline for NaNo.

Maybe I should drive on the dotted line?

Jody Hedlund said...

With writing I'm definitely a right laner! I kick out my word count every day; when I reach 500 words, I quit (usually). I'm a goal oriented, outliner, check-off the-list kind of person. I don't like to break the rules, but sometimes "I know better." :) I love alone times to write. But when I'm in a crowd, I'm definitely not an introvert!

This was fun Jeannie! Thanks!

sherrinda said...

I guess I am the boring right laner. Most of the time, I follow the rules, until I can't stand it anymore and bust out to the left. But then I quickly jump back to the right so I dont' slow people down.

What a fun thought you had!

Sue said...

Fun and thought provoking. I'm a right lane driver and fit your description of a type A person, more or less! However, when I'm in a hurry the left lane calls to me.

ElanaJ said...

I must drive down the middle, cuz I'm both. I make stuff up as I got (I actually shudder at the word "outline") but I follow a schedule for writing.

I'm with you on not following the "rules" as it were, but I also enjoy the structure of a schedule. Riddle that one out!

Krista Phillips said...

I am SO SO SO a left-laner.

Except... when there's a far-far right laner. Then I'm that. You know what I'm talking about, the lane that is about ready to end a mile up the road so EVERYONE is merging over and clogging up traffic, so the right lane is free as a bird.

At work, we call people like me the "third" laners. We bypass everyone else and butt in just as the lane merges.

Some people say we are butting in line and cheating. But *I* say that we are justing using the rules to our advantage, dad gum it!

Yes, I'm definately a third and left laner (as can probably be seen by my own blog post today, LOL!)

And... I agree with your theory, I do the same in my writing. I wrote my first book in 3 months and it was writing till 4 a.m. somedays, then getting up 2 hours later for work.

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