Several months ago I learned a tip from another writer about how to improve your focus and concentration while writing (or working on any project that requires that you sit still and focus).

No, it’s not a Xanax and wine cocktail, as tempting as that might sound sometimes!

It’s to pick a song you like and play it on constant repeat while working.

I do this a lot. It even works if kids are in the background making lots of noise. Something about hearing the same song over and over as you write or work really makes it easier to focus.

This week I did a lot of writing in the backyard and the song I listened to over and over was Mercy by U2.

This song was left off their How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album, for reasons I can’t understand. It’s an awesome song and the lyrics are among the best U2 lyrics ever. Rumor has it this song will be on their next album.

The other song I listened to a lot was Xanax and Wine. This was another song left off the Atomic Bomb album but included in the iTunes complete U2 collection.  Great lyrics once again.

If only U2 had ditched the Vertigo song and included that one instead. Oh well. Speaking of Vertigo, here’s a song called Native Song that’s an earlier version of Vertigo. It hasn’t made it to my “music to listen to obsessively while writing” rotation yet but I like that version much better than Vertigo.

It’s interesting how, sometimes, a musician’s best work is the stuff way off the beaten path rather than their mainstream work.

OK, off to do some more writing with Xanax and Wine – the song that is, not the real thing. Alas.

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