Continuing the series of articles on creativity in writing, let us concentrate on concentration. When developing any kind of story, it can be exceptionally beneficial to establish a mood. The easiest way to accomplish this without actually putting yourself in the situation you want to write about is through aural stimulus. What we hear can influence what we see. The most common scene of a horror movie is slowly ascending a dark stair case towards a closed door. Without the tension and suspense of the background music, it is just a poorly lit staircase, with it, everyone is on the end of their seats waiting for the shock moment.

The same technique can be used to help you develop your story. If you are at a romantic portion of your story, put on some romantic music. If it is a scene of discovery or combat, classic Wagner can be very inspirational.

Never limit yourself to a single stimulus. You can use scented candles, walk outside, cook something for smells. Dim or add lights, work at night or at high noon, to set the lighting.

Once you have your environment set, how do you maintain your concentration to produce the images and messages that you want? The biggest problem is external interruptions. Make sure that the other inhabitants of your writing area know that you want/need isolation for your creativity. Most people will honor your request for at least a little way. Little ones, if you have them around, find it hard to accept that Mom or Dad just needs to be alone. You will have to limit your time to manageable periods to meet the demands of every day life. Sometimes you can use a vacation day and separate yourself from family commitments for a few hours.

Even if you can achieve isolation, distractions abound. Writer’s block, doldrums, even a stray fly can be a problem. If it hits, take a break. Get away. Even reschedule your writing time. Sometimes you cannot win, but that does not mean that you will be frustrated every time. Once you hit a writing surge, you will be amazed at how many words you can capture. Ideas will spawn new ideas, messages will morph into new messages. Eventually, your creation will emerge. It will be different than your original intent. You may even be changed. Even if you abort your project and move to something else, you will have accomplished something incredible; you will have written something that no one else had written. You will have crated something.

Keep writing.