Music Soothes The Writer's Mind

Anne here!

Like anyone trying to get something done, having a buffer to help you focus is something I desperately need when I write. When I had a laptop I used to use the sound of the TV for white noise, and that worked some days, but I found that certain music helps me focus better.

Now, I know there are lots of reels on YouTube with relaxing and soothing music that help people focus, but I absolutely cannot listen to those and not get distracted.

See my issue has always been my maladaptive daydreaming. While I can control it if I have enough tasks to take my mind somewhere else completely, but when I am alone with some calm music or soothing sounds, it can cause me to daydream much more than usual. This can become distracting because a lot of the times I am not daydreaming about what I'm trying to write, you can see my problem.

Anything that I can sing along to or that has a pop, punk, or even metal edge to it (metal is my fav), I can't use it when I write. It provides too much of a tunnel to the daydream world in my head. I had to find music that would help force me into the right realm of thinking that wouldn't allow for too much wandering.

That music is Rap, in any form, but recently I've been playing NF's albums on repeat as I write. I try to pair them to the mood of what I'm working on, but the way his music flows and the beat he follows acts like a mental metronome for me. This is true for any rap artist, I just happen to be on him currently, as I write this piece.

Now, this isn't to say everyone should listen to rap when they write or try to get things done. This is what works for me, and on occasion, when I am not in such a foggy headspace, I use some of my favorite songs to write. (hint, it's a lot of pop punk, punk, and metal)

What music do you listen to when you need to focus? Is it something other than music? TV, noise machine, nothing? If it's nothing, please tell me your secret on staying focused without having outside stimulants, because I need to shake things up every now and then, and sometimes I burn myself out on certain songs that give me the most focus.

Can you think of times when nothing would help you focus? I have days where the fog is thick around my mind. I take breaks and go at it a different angle when I can, but there are times when I can't shake it. I try to watch comfort shows, do a needle point project that is always in suspension due to my writing projects. Something that doesn't require a lot of thinking or focus.

Days like that bear down on me, fill me with guilt, and call me a shitty writer. They call me lazy, worthless, and useless. It's hard to hear past those thoughts, the words swimming through your mind at times like that. It's hard to not hear the truth in them, even if you physically can't bring yourself to do the work. It does feel like laziness. I've had to tell myself that the words will get to the page, that it is only a detour that I'm taking when I give myself a break. Even when those breaks seem to come day after day.

Reminding myself that the writing will always be there has been the only stable thing in my life, aside from my sister. We both came out of something that rocked us back and forth, that didn't give us something to grab onto as we grew. So I have to remind myself that the words will always be there, that I can take a break when the fog is too thick, wrapping itself around my mind.

In the meantime, even the days when it's too much to focus on writing, I turn to music. I play it when I write, when I'm not in the mood for anything else, I let it fill the emotions I can't feel. If the last year has taught me anything, aside from how much crap I can take, it's that my writing will always be here. Even when I don't think it's good enough, or when I think I'm not good enough. The music will always play me back home and the words will find their way along with me.

- Anne

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