By Nichole Roundy Jarnigan
The brain emits four types of waves: Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta. Your state of consciousness determines the phase you are in. For example, when you’re in that unconscious state of deep sleep you are emitting delta waves. Theta waves occur during periods of deeper sleep and meditation.
Our normal day to day routines are governed by beta waves. It’s our logical, rational, “left brain” thinking that gets stuff done. Beta brain has an important role in writing— forming an outline, revising, correcting grammar and punctuation. Think of it as that pesky internal editor.
Of particular interest to we as writers are alpha waves—those associated with creativity, intuition, and those “aha” moments. It occurs during that initial phase of writing where you rely on a flow of ideas such as brainstorming, free writing, or getting down that first draft. Part three of my music series focuses on cuing our brains to switch from beta state alpha mode.
Classical music, Baroque in particular, induces what’s called Alpha State. When alpha waves are stimulated on both the left and right hemispheres, it allows you to access both intellect and creativity at the same time. In other words, by luring your brain into a state of relaxation you get the best of both worlds.
If you find writing while listening to music distracting, try listening beforehand. The tempo will slow down those crazy, busy brain waves and put you in a writing state of mind. What I like about this method is there’s really nothing you have to do because it happens subconsciously. It’s working smarter, not harder.