We all have our own ways of distracting our personal judge and jury, however, there may be times when we should answer the door when the left brain comes knocking. Sometimes, “Lefty” is quite right to barge in and say, “What were you thinking?” (Well, of course, when you’re in right-brain mode, you’re not doing any kind of analytical thinking.) Perhaps the left brain should say, instead, “I can see that you’ve started without me. But I must warn you that if you don’t spend some time with me now, that fickle right brain is going to take you places you don’t want to go, or worse, just dump you.”
So, sometimes, it might be smart to spend that time with “Lefty.” How do you know when you should do this? As you are plotting along in your free-spirited way, it dawns on you that your character arcs aren’t clear to you, and those arcs are critical to plotting. Your timelines for the characters and action may be off. You don’t have a clue what certain characters are like or can’t visualize important settings. You might not even remember certain character names or details you’ve created in earlier scenes. You may even (shudder) have no clue what the next scene should be. These are instances of “Lefty” hammering at your door.
If you don’t want “Lefty” bugging you when you just want to be left alone to write, give “Lefty” plenty attention first. Of course, the danger is that doing this will be just another way to not write. That’s why it’s important to have some basic prewriting tools for whatever type of writing you are doing. If you already have a concept, you’re in good shape. If not, there are many techniques for generating an idea for a piece of writing, and they can be found in many, many books, articles, websites and blogs on writing. Once you have your concept, there are elements you need to plan. For example, in fiction, you should get to know your characters quite well, to the point that they are real people to you. There are character charts, character arc charts, relationship charts, characterization based on archetypes, a variety of unusual "games" to help you turn them into flesh—even software programs. Then, of course, you should have a rough plot plan (being well acquainted with your characters makes plotting easier) and visualize your settings (setting charts, anyone?). What you are doing is some elaborating and organizing in advance. Just make sure you spend only a reasonable amount of time doing this preplanning. Some people make prewriting an end in itself and never get any further.
Once done, thank “Lefty” profusely. Then escort him to the guest room and lock the door. Assure him as he pounds on the door and demands to be let out that you’ll need him later when you’re ready to revise and edit. Suggest he take a nap in the meantime. Then, forget about him, and take off with that lovely, spirited muse who’s ready to take you on the flight of your life. As I used to tell my students, “Now that you’ve done your prewriting, you have a springboard; so dive into the story and don’t look back—and no revising or editing along the way either until you’re finished with that first draft!”