The other day I came across this article and found it fascinating. Basically it states that the difference between writers and non-writers (or experienced writers and amateurs) can be measured in the way they brainstorm:
Lotze asked 28 non-writers to copy some text from a page as well as finish a story based on a prompt, all while they were hooked up to an MRI machine. When it came to copying text, he didn’t see much activity in the participants’ brains. When they were coming up with a story, however, some of the vision-processing regions of their brains lit up, almost as if they saw their tale unfold.
While visualizing your story may seem like the right way to approach writing, it turns out that for full-time writers, the brain performs a bit differently. When Dr. Lotze watched writers from a competitive creative writing program perform the same tests, he found that experienced writers, while brainstorming, used parts of their brains associated with speech instead of vision.
Amateurs visualize; pros immediately go into how to describe it with words.
It got me thinking a lot about my own process, because I do tend to visualize the scene first, then go about figuring out how to describe it. But this process should come faster; it’s not about that beautiful image in my head, it’s about how to best transmute that image into the heads of others.