It’s a little embarrassing to admit this, but I have trouble focusing when I write. I day dream, I get up to get something from the refrigerator, I turn on the TV, I play with the cats… God forbid someone sends me a message on Facebook. Now admittedly I am a non-medicated, yet diagnosed ADD patient who has struggled with focus for a long time, so it’s no surprise to me that I get sidetracked, but I’m always looking for a solution to this relatively common problem. The other day I think I found one.
If you’ve liked my Facebook page “Seated At The Writer’s Table”, you may have seen my post “I just discovered that having live mediocre jazz in the background helps me write.” It happened while I was sitting at a coffee shop desperate to string at least a couple of coherent thoughts together. A trio of young guys were setting up on stage getting ready to play and; being as frustrated as I was, I welcomed the distraction. Normally the coffee shop has singer-songwriters, but as I was saying this particular group started playing jazz and I sat back to listen.
Now, I’m going to try and explain what this felt like, but I’m not sure I can do it justice. It was as if my awareness of where I was and what I was doing just drifted out of focus and I was watching thoughts and memories float by instead. Pretty soon after that, words started coming into focus and my hands began pecking at the keyboard of my mac. It flowed like how I would imagine a stream of consciousness poetry night did and I just prayed that when I was done it would something worth reading. Although it would require a good amount of editing, I was proud of the solid foundation that appeared in front of me. This was an incredible moment. My typically muddled mind was very clear and I had become more prolific than I’d been in months.
It wasn’t until my drive home that I connected the success of my writing session with the music I had been listening to at the time. This was a discovery that would need to be tested before I could feel confident talking about it, so when I got to my apartment I tried to recreate the conditions. Again, I was able to pound out a few pages of decent material. I was thrilled and remembered something I had read about years ago that; in a sense, paralleled my findings. Expectant mothers would play Classical music during their pregnancy with the expectation that it would raise the IQ of their unborn child.
Well if jazz could focus my mind than maybe Classical could put me in a state of writing bliss. I went straight to Pandora and started with Mozart. The effect was staggering! I wrote and wrote and wrote…it was amazing. Please give this tip a try and let me know if it was as useful for you as it was for me.
I have to go now; today I’m trying out Bach. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next time at the writer’s table.
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