“Flow is a subjective state that people report when they are completely involved in something to the point of losing track of time and of being unaware of fatigue and of everything else but the activity itself.”- Quote from Talented Teenagers: The Roots of Success and Failure
I have a restless mind. I can’t read anything for ten minutes without losing focus and switching to something else. And it’s worst online. I am convinced online reading is responsible for this distracting, unsettling habit I’ve cultivated.
I am not sure what causes it, except that it is worst when I am having a depressive episode, and that is understandable, considering the chemical imbalance that depression creates in the brain. (The last eight months I have been dealing with a most stressful experience that sapped much of my brain power, concentration and motivation.)
But I am a writer, and for writers, being controlled by a restless mind is one counterproductive habit that’s a major deal-breaker. Try adding writer’s block to that. On a bad day, I may not get anything done. Sometimes, as my readers here will notice, these ‘dusty days’ have extended for months.
The consequence? Everyday I don’t write delays my dream of getting my freelance writing business off the ground. My confidence plummets. I lose writing flow. My vocabulary becomes constricted. My blogs become ghost towns and I become frustrated with myself for not making the progress I should as a writer.
How I Plan to Get my Groove Back like . . .
But Stella got her groove back, and I’m dead-set on getting mine too. (Ok, ok, maybe the method may not be as erotic… nevertheless I am gonna find a way to recapture the flow I desperately need to get my writing groove back.)
So I am on a journey to find solutions to help myself beat this thing. I am open to ideas from the experts in this writing business.
Over the next six weeks, I will challenge myself to test a few of the free (I have no money, remember) tools and hacks other writers have recommended, plus those I hope to discover for myself along the way. I’ll share how each is helping a dusty writer find her inspiration and get her writing groove back.
Playlist #1- Music To Listen To While Writing Essays, Papers, Stories, Poetry, Songs
Today, I’m starting with music.
Calming music has always been a good antidote for my stressed mind.
So just before I knocked out this post a short while ago, I headed to Google. I entered the long tail keywords “music to help writers focus while writing,” and landed on YouTube. YouTube account, Soundings of the Planet comes up first in the Result pages, and I choose the first song in the 7-track playlist. It’s entitled Music To Listen To While Writing – Essays, Papers, Stories, Poetry, Songs. There are 7 tracks. It’s 47:03 minutes long, and is a series of beautiful instrumentals by Dean Evenson (www.soundings.com).
The titles in Track Listing looks promising:
1) Pure Light Mind – Meditation Moods
2) Calming Insight of Ourselves – Meditation Moods
3) Touch of Grace – Sound Massage
4) Timeless Spirit – Sound Massage
5) Pondering the Lotus – Peaceful Pond
6) Welcome to my Pad – Peaceful Pond
7) Water Caress – Peaceful Pond
So does the 641,372 views it has attracted. I press ‘Play‘ to see whether this music will deliver on the claim in the playlist titles.
Easy Listening. Check.
As I write this sentence, I am now 27 seconds into the video and I am still on task. Can I finish this post by the time the video ends? Stay with me to find out.
The selection of songs are relaxing. That’s the first noticeable thing. Most of the sounds seem to be piano and violin. Between the stringed instruments, I can hear what sounds like croaking bullfrogs and twittering birds; nature’s music is cleverly integrated. The sound massage the composer intended is working.
From one song to the next, the music is quiet, melodic, never jarring. It’s definitely mood music, easy on the ear and calming to my nerves.
And so far, words are flowing, which is definitely another plus for this solution.
Of course, it helps if you like instrumental and classical music. If this is not your type of music, then this will probably bore you to tears. But it works for me because I’ve always loved classical and instrumental music.
Evocative journeys for your writer’s mind
The sound massages evoke images. In the last 3 minutes of the track, I am transported by the sensory blend of oriental chimes and nature sounds to romantic places in my imaginings: a rugged, open, mountain vistas, birds making sleepy calls as a dusky sunset settles across the landscape as a lone rider on horseback treks quietly across the desert home. I can see how a writer could get her groove back listening to this music for writing tracks.
The track ends and I have successfully completed a new blog post, breaking the long months-long writing fast on this blog. Yeaaah. Music To Listen To While Writing – Essays, Papers, Stories, Poetry, Songs definitely gets my vote. Here’s the link if you’d like to listen for yourself.
Playlist # 2: Music for Writing 1- The Phantom Music
Writers are listening to and liking this type of music for work, as you’ll see by the comments on the YouTube page. While you are there, check out Music for Writing 1 The Phantom Music, 1:49 minutes of curated music writers commenting on the page attest is successfully helping them. One writer wrote, “This helped me through major writers’ block I can’t tell you how many times. Thank you a million times over,”while another writer said, “Aiming to reach my 100,000 words in my novel. Six thousand left to go. Wish me luck!”
Playlist #3 – Music for Writing 11: Attack of the Music
Other playlists on the page explore other genres and mix instrumentals with popular songs. Maybe Phantom’s epic theme music selections from the Lion King or Harry Potter movies or the strident tracks in Music for Writing 11: Attack of the Music will give you the writing gears you need to vanquish that 100,000-word novel, difficult speech, college paper, or 17-page creative writing project you have to complete in the next few hours.
Takeaway from Music Hack
So the result of Test 1 is conclusive. Music, not just any music, but instrumental music along the tone offered by this YouTube track does it for me. If like me, you suffer from Distracted writer syndrome (my coinage) as I’ve described, I’d recommend this music as a solution. If instrumental, easy listening is what you are after to quieten the noise in your brain, then try out this Youtube playlist.
Remember I’m hunting for solutions, so why not leave a comment sharing the writing focus hack that works for you while writing. Sharing will help other writers overcome this debilitating writing issue.
I’m Karen Taylor, a professional blogger, writer and online journalist based in Portmore, Jamaica. Thanks for stopping by. Need help with your next writing project? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m on LinkedIn.