Divergent and Convergent Thinking – and what that means for your book

Using Your Whole Brain to Find Your Book

The idea of the left brain and the right brain as effectively two warring personality types – ‘I’m right brain dominant, I am creative, artisitic, intuitive, I cannot be expected to do sums…’ – has been discredited, but it’s certainly true that we have different modes of thinking, even if both of them involve both sides of our brain in a beautiful, dizzyingly complex neural dance of connections and pathways.  

Divergent/convergent thinking

One useful shorthand for these two thinking styles is divergent vs convergent: divergent thinking is free-wheeling, creative, playful, curious and expansive, aiming to find new and different connections and ideas, convergent thinking is linear, more analytical and critical, aiming to find a single solution. You might prefer one over the other, but if you’re going to be the difference you want in the world, it’s useful to be able to use them both AT THE RIGHT TIME. The thing about these two modes of thinking is that they’re incompatible, as you’ll know if you’ve ever been stuck in a brainstorming session with someone desperate to move on to making a decision as quickly as possible. 

As my Grandma used to say: ‘You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.’ At some point you need to choose and focus, and there’s a right time for that. Choose too soon and you might not make the best choice, choose too late or not at all and you won’t actually deliver the goods when they’re needed…


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