After some regrouping in previous days to fix some elements of the book before I moved forward, I made good progress yesterday.
Some of it may have been thanks to one of the sessions I went to at the event this weekend. It was about creativity and got into discussion of the “flow state.” I’d read the book on the subject when it first came out. Well, started to read. Then I had to return it to the library because it was due and there was a waiting list so I couldn’t renew it. I may have to pick it up again and make another stab at it.
Anyway, a flow state is when you just start doing something almost automatically. The critical part of your brain gets turned off and you lose track of time. It’s like you blink and an hour has gone by and you’ve written a couple of thousand words. I’ve experienced this, and it’s wonderful. I haven’t been doing a lot of it lately because I’ve been so busy analyzing what I’m writing.
One of the ways to help get into a flow state is to listen to classical or jazz music. Apparently, there’s something about that kind of music that distracts the part of the brain that normally trips you up, and it frees you to just create. Normally, I write in total silence, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I did get a fair amount done when I put on a Chopin CD, but I found that I focused a bit too much on the music because the music was so familiar to me. Next, I opened my Amazon Prime Music app and played my new choir director’s album. When she’s not directing our choir, she’s a concert pianist and has a lovely album of reinterpretations of classical Russian pieces for piano and cello. The new arrangements mean the pieces aren’t so familiar that they’re distracting. That worked well enough that I was startled when the album ended. Then I found a playlist of classical music for focus, and that also worked, except when a familiar piece popped up and I had to see what it was (in one case, it was a track from a CD I have).
So, it seems that playing unfamiliar classical music is the trick. I have written to movie soundtracks in the past, and that can work. Then the music becomes so familiar I can tune it out. It doesn’t work for John Williams because I just want to listen. One of the best CDs for tuning out the world and writing for me is the fifth Harry Potter soundtrack (Order of the Phoenix). But it just doesn’t work for me for this book. It’s the wrong mood/tone.
Now we’ll see if it works again today or if it’s just a fluke.