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Writing to the beat of a different drummer

Sometimes, getting into my writing groove is about as easy as slipping on my favorite pair of jeans from my freshman year in college. In other words, it’s impossible.

I have various tricks for when my muse needs to be conned into action: wearing headphones to help myself focus, doing a five minute timed write to warm up my writing muscles, or giving myself a reward when I reach my word quota for the day—maybe a small piece of chocolate (hmm…is this why I can’t fit into those jeans?).

Sometimes, I write to music to help myself stay focused. For my current project, I’m creating a playlist that so far includes Moonlight Sonata, Adagio for Violin, Bach, and Lorenna McKennitt. While writing my memoir, I listened mainly to Norah Jones and Brandi Carlile. Different books inspire different music and vice versa.

But sometimes other sounds can help me write too.

The other day I was working on a chapter in my novel and noticed that the pages were flying by and the writing seemed better than usual. Not only was I in the flow but I was writing in a certain rhythm. I raised my head just long enough to notice that our leaky kitchen faucet in the next room was dripping in perfect time. Drip-drip-drip. Pause. Drip-drip-drip. Pause. And so on. The steady rhythm of the water dripping was the equivalent of a metronome in the background. (Good thing we never fixed that faucet, right?)

This discovery led me to wonder about the effects of different rhythms on my writing. If I set my son’s old piano metronome to a faster pace would it help me write hotter and faster?

I won’t give you my answer (though I bet you can guess). Try it for yourself and let me know what happens!

If you’d like to see what music inspired some of our great writers, check out Carly’s post here.

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