It’s great having a few tricks up your sleeve to boost your writing speed. (Especially tricks that can “flip your switch” when writing from scratch.)
Can music “flip your switch”?
Music is one of those things we don’t pay much attention to—unless we have to. That is, we don’t pay much attention until we want to hear a specific piece; then it becomes important to us.
I recently wondered if music could improve one's writing. So I tried an experiment.
Try this fun experiment
If you haven’t tried using music to inspire your writing efforts, this could be a fun little experiment to try over the next few weeks (or days).
If you have a CD collection, choose about seven discs. Pick a variety of musical genres, genres that create different feelings or moods when you hear them.
Each time you sit down to write, play a disc. Observe how you feel when writing.
Most likely, you’ll experience one of two things:
Momentum feels like a train leaving the station. The words are flowing, you have a general sense of direction and you feel clear in how you express yourself. It’s easy to write. You’re not fighting with ideas.
Feeling distracted is easy to spot—you’re stuck. Creating a few sentences feels like it takes forever. For me, distraction means my attention turns outward—daydreaming without continuing to move forward.
When you catch yourself thinking of other tasks you want to do, that’s another sign of being distracted. Try changing the music. Go back to writing. Observe what happens after five or ten minutes. Are you still distracted? Or are the words flowing more easily?
In about a week, you’ll see patterns
Maybe music with vocals is too distracting. But classical guitar feels perfect. Maybe jazz is a bit too much. But ambient is just the right groove.
For example, I enjoy writing to ambient music
Right now, I’m listening to the Ambient Space Music station. The music is at a very low volume and the station is playing music continuously. For some reason, the steady stream of music keeps the words flowing.
You’ll be able to tell which type of music works best for you after experimenting. Or maybe you discover that music doesn’t help you. Hey, at least you’ll know!
Try Internet radio stations
iTunes Radio (or something similar) has a huge selection of radio stations. Each station specializes in a musical genre: ambient, alternative rock, blues, country, jazz, hard rock, etc. Internet radio stations are free, and many are commercial-free. Search around to see if there's a station or two you like.
Try “flipping the switch”
The next time you’re struggling to write:
• Fire up iTunes.
• Or throw on a CD.
• Or spin one of those scratchy things they call “records.”
And start writing.
You might surprise yourself.