You take a deep breath in and let an equally deep sigh out. A rare moment of silence greets you back. Nice!
No one is needing you for the 10th emergency of the day, you’re not waiting for the repair man, your presence isn’t being demanded anywhere. Everyone is safe, everything is calm. And there is bliss in this uninterrupted moment as you reach for your coloring book, prop your feet up and dive into your latest masterpiece.
But almost immediately, You sense a problem.
As you lay into that design, you feel… something. Maybe your thoughts wander and you can’t seem to reign them in? Maybe you’re thinking about things that are getting you in the Feels (making you feel genuinely terrible)? Isn’t settling down to color supposed to fix all of that?, you wonder. You begin to think you’re doing it “wrong”? It’s something – that you know for sure but you can’t quite put your finger on it… You’re struggling to get going but you don’t know why.
Can I make a suggestion? Sit still for a few seconds – what do you hear?
That total blissful silence is probably the cause of your creative coloring mojo drying up.
During any given design time, you can find me blasting some type of music to get my creative juices flowing. According to this NY Times article, when our minds wander, we tend to start thinking about unhappy things, which is decidedly not a good thing when you’re trying to make designs or when trying to get relaxed with your coloring. But putting on some music, especially music that we love, can help us feel better, which gets us re-focused on the task at hand, which makes it a more pleasant experience.
Music helps us to get “in the flow” – that state of mind where time is suspended and our pistons are firing fabulously, allowing us to write that awesome story or crochet that afghan or color in that great piece of art.
And I have to say, it’s true.
I notice the times that I struggle the most are when I am in complete silence. Penelope Dog has been fed and let out, then back in; my calls and emails have been answered; Oui Color business has been tended to – I pull up to my fresh digital design board and…
Not a stitch of an idea to begin laying out.
I double check to see if I may have left some important bit of business unattended: I cross all my T’s, dot all my I’s and try again. Fresh board, I psych myself up – GO!
And …still nothing.
At this point I’m getting frustrated. I’m thinking of calling this design time quits because ALL of my design fairies, my muses, my inspirations are nowhere to be found.
Until I remember the one crucial part to my routine that I usually forget: music.
When I was running behind deadline for my last book, Oceans, I STRUGGLED so HARD – it was like pulling teeth. I loved the concept, I loved my finished pieces but I had a hard time buckling down because
1) I wasn’t in my usual workspace (huge AC issues going on at the time) and
2) I tried to plow through it without music because every five seconds, it seemed the workmen were either interrupting me or creating so much noise that I couldn’t hear my tunes anyway, so I tried to forego the musical ear candy.
Biggest mistake ever. Without my tunes, I was never able to get “in the flow” because my mind wandered aimlessly about everything else I had going on, except the most important thing right in front of me: my work. Needless to say, I missed deadline.
Though there are no deadlines when coloring (unless you’ve entered a contest, then Uh-Oh – finish this article so you can use my tips, then get to it!), it can be frustrating to finish a piece when the coloring inspiration/motivation is just not coming to you.
But don’t fret! I am here to share my Top 3 “In The Flow” Music Tips to get your creative coloring juices running, your productivity producing and best of all, it won’t cost you a thing. Nope, not a cent. Ready? Read on!
I generally have a disclaimer at the bottom of my pages advising that I use affiliate links for all my Amazon books, which is always true for any and every print book you purchase using links from my site. However, there are no affiliate links with these music recommendations. I’ve just found that they really work for me when I’m struggling with getting in the flow and I thought I’d share. So I hope you enjoy!
Top 3 In The Flow Music Go-To’s
• Pandora Radio (www.pandora.com)
What Is It?: Pandora is free personalized internet radio. Simply enter a favorite artist, track, comedian or genre, and Pandora will create a personalized station that plays their music and more like it. Rate songs by giving thumbs-up and thumbs-down feedback and add variety to further refine your stations, discover new music and help Pandora play only music you love. (Description obtained here.)
I *love* Pandora! It was a gem of a suggestion from a writing comrade and it has migrated with me through several different points in my life. I currently have 19 custom stations. Yes, you read that right: 19. I love that it gives me options to thumbs up or down songs that they serve up. The more songs that you like, the more songs that are similar to that one that they play for you.
All you need to get started building your own stations list, is a valid email address to create an account and you’re ready to go!
To welcome you to your new music home, check out my favorite station on Pandora, by far, Swing & Big Band.