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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Which Brain Do You Want Your Readers to Use?

book vs kindle writer's block canstockphoto26536042 (2)How much attention your readers can bring to reading depends on whether they’re reading your work onscreen or from a traditional paper book or magazine.

I’m about to encourage you to link to an essay about this, but before you go, I ask you to notice, if you can, how the ability to link to another source affects how much attention you bring to the article I suggest you read. And observe how you read when you (hopefully) return to this post.  Your Paper Brain and Your Kindle Brain Aren’t the Same Thing.

The research that reading exclusively on a screen reduces our capacity for sustained, linear thinking is particularly relevant for us as writers. It may be that if we want to hold complex information and intricate thinking in our heads, we have to hold the source in our hands.

It seems only logical that just as reading primarily onscreen affects how we can read, reading primarily onscreen will also affect how we can write. Those of us who want to write book-length material may have to invest time not just in reading books, but in reading paper books.

We can’t control what medium our readers choose to read our work. Should we attempt to limit what medium our work is available on?

How much of your reading do you do onscreen compared to reading from an ink-on-paper source?  Do you notice changes in your reading patterns depending on what medium you’re reading from?

Can you get the same impact reading my blogs that you’d get from reading my Around the Writer’s Block book? If you’ve read my book and continue to read my posts, I’d love to know if you’ve noticed differences in the kind of attention you bring to and the value of the information you get from onscreen vs. paper.

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4 Comments on “Which Brain Do You Want Your Readers to Use?”

  1. Julie M. Evans January 14, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    When I read your book, I settle in with a pen and a furrowed brow, studying and nodding and marking summary info or important (to me) info. When I read your blogs, my brain is not quite as engaged. 🙂


  2. Joel D Canfield January 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Absolutely true in my case: online or on Kindle, I scan, looking for what’s interesting and valuable.

    Paper, I slow down, savor, relax, immerse.

    It’s why all my recreational reading is print.


    • rosannebane January 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

      Thanks Joel. My recreational reading is in print, but it looks like maybe more of my research should be also…


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