Get writing!

I met with one of my professors a few months ago just to have a cup of coffee and chat a bit about things. One of the topics we came upon was how my thesis was going (a question, I think, most graduate students dread when getting into their final months of writing). I had mentioned I was still hashing out some ideas and trying to organize things together to show to my advisor to make sure things were on the write track before getting writing. You know, to avoid wasting time writing something that my advisor may eventually recommend to remove, after seeing my thesis outline. His reply really stuck with me. He said:

你要開始寫,否則你會不知道你在缺甚麼東西。
(You better start writing, otherwise you won’t know what you’re missing.)

And I remember thinking, “well, what if it doesn’t get approved?”. Regardless, I took the advice and started writing. Now, after a few months of writing I totally understand what he meant. I can now know what exactly it is I am missing, be it a specific resource or even an idea that was never really flushed out. There’s a risky cliff, I believe, that most students find themselves on before writing. There’s certain assumptions being made about what kind of materials they have on hand and what the sources say, but this oftentimes overlooks what kind of materials they actually have and what the sources actually say.

There’s a lot of discussion online about whether or not you should just start writing or wait, or what. In my experiences it seems always be ready to write, but also always be ready to discard and rewrite as well. Plus, it always helps to get in a little more writing practice, too!

Whistle While You Work

I’m someone that needs to listen to music while working, especially when writing. I can’t work in dead silence, which is probably why I never study in libraries. Music helps keep me motivated and also gives me the energy to keep going. I prefer instrumental tracks, like classical music (and dare I say) video game and movie soundtracks. However, recently, my friend introduced to Jazz music by sharing “It’s A Raggy Waltz” by Dave Brubeck, and since then I’ve been collecting more Jazz music to put on while I study. Below I’d like to share some of the collections I’ve found on YouTube. The best part? Some wonderful Japanese people have put these collections together–often lasting over an hour–which makes for great, distraction free listening as you study. Here’s a list with some comments about the content of each video! Hope you enjoy them.

JAZZ  雨降りの午後 【作業用BGM】
I particularly like the story this tells–going into a cafe on a rainy day, getting some work done/listening to soft Jazz, and leaving as the sun comes out.

【作業用BGM】 -ラウンジbarの片隅で- JAZZ
【作業用BGM】~受験に向けて頑張るあなたへ贈ります~ピアノ曲集 1時間
【作業用BGM】piano jazz~大人な時間を貴方に~【JAZZ】
These three all soft sets that aren’t distracting and keep me writing or working.

As I mentioned above, most of these sets tend to run around an hour, so you don’t have to worry about switching tracks or finding the next song you’d like to listen to.

To me, music is a very important role in setting the mood. Often, if I’m feeling particularly unmotivated to begin studying or writing, I like to start with a very uplifting track. I’ve found that video game music–especially from RPGs in particular–are very good at building this sense of momentum; a sense of setting out on adventure. This track from Star Ocean, for example, is particularly empowering. Here are two video game themed sets worth checking out:

真夜中の作業用BGM【高音質・厳選ゲーム音楽】
【作業用BGM】さすらいの旅に出たくなるかもしれないゲーム曲集

If you happen to find this music helpful in your studies let me know. Also, if you have any music you particularly enjoy listening to while working, put it in the comments below!

Footnotes

1. These are often referred to as 【作業用BGM】(作業用 = さぎょうよう by the way), so give that a search on YouTube and you’ll find a large variety of music collections. Very much worth your time to check out!